The Fuse: It's Gut-Check Time for the Blue Jackets' Top Players

By Rob Mixer on November 14, 2017 at 6:01 am
Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin

Raj Mehta - USA TODAY Sports

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We've talked about this. It's just more magnified now.

Perhaps it's a good thing that the Blue Jackets only have two games this week: tonight in Montreal and then Friday at home against the New York Rangers. They're hurting right now, and the injuries are hampering the position at which they're most vulnerable.

A year ago, it wasn't like this. 

Lukas Sedlak is a few weeks away from returning. Nick Foligno has moved back to the wing from center ice. Alexander Wennberg missed practice Monday and, from the sounds of it, isn't likely to play tonight. John Tortorella wasn't offering any details other than to say Wennberg is "nicked up." 

Don't know about you...but that doesn't sound particularly good.

Wennberg has not looked himself at any point this season. It wasn't clicking with Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson, then Atkinson got hurt, then Wennberg was taken off that line and then off the power play, too. This is their No. 1 center they now must go on without, and whether he's produced points at the rate we expect or not, his absence leaves a sizable hole in their lineup.

Panarin is warming up, and his timing couldn't be better. But they need more from others.

Nick Foligno has played well given the circumstances and all the shifting around, but the Blue Jackets need him to start scoring goals. Atkinson has four, while both Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky have two goals apiece. Those numbers have to come up if the Blue Jackets are going to keep a decent pace with the Metropolitan Division's top teams.

The purpose of accumulating and building depth is to be able to withstand injuries. We'll see now if the Blue Jackets can hang tough.


STAR WARS

I'd be lying if I said I've been thinking about anything other than the possibilities for Rian Johnson's forthcoming "new trilogy." This idea had to have come to him while developing the script for The Last Jedi, right? No way we're just starting from scratch – it feels like he had an idea, pitched it to Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm, and combined with their love for TLJ, made him an offer.

Here are my hopeful trilogy ideas:

1. "The in-between trilogy" – what forced the galaxy into the state we found it in The Force Awakens?

2. The Academy trilogy – who were Luke's students and what (aside from Ben Solo) caused the destruction of the new Jedi Order?

3. First Order/Dark Side trilogy – the fall of the Empire and the rise of the First Order, and what (if any) role the Sith played.

YOU SHOULD BE READING

  • Jordan Schroeder is joining the Blue Jackets with Zac Dalpe headed to injured reserve.
  • The impact of the Cleveland Monsters alumni has never been felt more than right now.
  • The Blue Jackets aren't saying much about Alexander Wennberg's injury.

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