Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blue Jackets: Choose Your Own Adventure

The fact that I am sitting here writing a blog entry speak volumes.  I hardly ever do this.

The fact that I am starting it during the third period of a Blue Jackets game, instead of actually watching the Jackets game, speaks even higher volumes.

The fact that the Jackets have started the season 0-6 is unfathomable.  But then again, it's the Jackets. They have proven they can disappoint you in a wide variety of ways.

When I was a kid, I used to read a lot of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.  If you are not familiar with the series, each book presented the reader with choices throughout the story.  For example if you wanted the character to turn left down a dark hallway,  you were told to turn to a certain page.  If you wanted the character to turn right into a bright room, you were told to turn to a different page.

I have to admit, I don't remember a whole lot about the stories, but one in particular stands out.  I remember it because no matter what choices I made, my character seemed to die every time.  No matter what I did, something prevented me from surviving.  Occasionally, I think I would survive...but it would not be the outcome for which I hoped.  I was imprisoned, lost, etc. I never was able to finish the book with the ultimate happy ending.

This is what it's like to be a Jackets fan. Every season seems to bring a new adventure that leads to an unhappy ending.  There are always new excuses and new story lines that are the reasons for the team's lack of success.  Occasionally you get a playoff appearance to make you think you are getting closer to the ultimate happy ending, only to start the story again and become enslaved by the Ant People (or whatever the heck they were in that story I am thinking of).

Last year the excuse was injuries but the Jackets finished the season on a positive note.  Fans, media, players, coaches...everybody had high expectations for the start of this season.  The Jackets were healthy.  They acquired Saad.  They dominated in the preseason.  They had the most depth ever at the forward position.  To come out 0-6, to the worst start in franchise history, is mind boggling.  To not even get one single win in the first six games is just beyond belief.  To think back to two weeks ago, to all the positive energy, high hopes, and excitement I had about the season is frustrating to a point of numbness.

So now what?  Does the team get rebuilt again?  At some point this madness has to stop, right?  At some point, we have to find the ultimate happy ending of the story right?  I'm sure it's hidden somewhere in the Blue Jackets' Choose Your Own Adventure book.  I'm just so tired of starting over to try and find it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Jackets' Offense of the Future

When Rick Nash left the Blue Jackets several years ago, fans like myself wondered where they would get their goals from.  The overwhelming response to such questions was "offense by committee."  We were getting Dubinsky and Anisimov who had the potential to be 20-goal scorers.  Anisimov accomplished that and Dubinsky was close.

Now with Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno, and Scott Hartnell reaching the 20-goal plateau this season, it got me thinking.  The Jackets really have some potent offensive weapons.  They seem to have an abundance of players who have scored or have the potential to score 20 goals in a season.

Johansen, Foligno, Hartnell, and Anisimov have already done it.  I would think logic suggests they can do it again.

Others, in my opinion, who have the potential to score 20 goals: Atkinson, Dubinsky, Jenner.  Clarkson has done it in the past and Jackets fans like myself are hoping he can find some semblance of his former 20-goal scoring self next season.

Plus you have Wennberg and Dano who arguably could be 20-goal scorers in the near future.  Throw Borkstrand into that mix and that gives the Jackets a whopping 11 players capable.  Obviously having 11 20-goal scorers on a team is a bit far-fetched, but it makes me smile to think about the future of the Blue Jackets.  I only hope our coaching staff can install the right system to bring the most offense out of these players.