A Deeper Look at the Interesting Physical Play of the Blue Jackets

By Chris Pennington on July 16, 2018 at 8:05 am
Boone Jenner

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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First: Jody Shelley, then Jared Boll, then Dalton Prout. Now...Boone Jenner? No, Josh Anderson. Er - maybe Dubinsky?

The Columbus Blue Jackets, in the totality of their franchise, have have been known for filling in their lack of talent with bruising bodies who can keep games exciting. And, well, bloody. 

But as the team has progressed to the state it is in today, they have quieted their consistent physical play in exchange for speed and scoring. In fact, the whole league seems to be shifting this way. 

Year after year lately, it is rare that the best teams in the league are the ones the are also ranked at the top of the league in hits. This past season, almost all of the teams that were in the top ten in points were actually in the middle of the pack in hits per game.

However - we know that hits don't exactly equate with being an intimidating team that can fight and play physical when need be, especially in the playoffs. The championship competing teams seem to always posses the likes of the Tom Wilson's or the Patric Hornqvists'.

And as much as we can HATE the Tom Wilson's and the Patric Hornqvists' - we'd love to have them on our team. In fact, us hating them means they are doing their job. They are in the heads of opposing players, fans and coaches.

They make speedy forwards think twice before looking for a stretch pass.

They make 6'4, 250 pound players stray away from potential fights.

They make goalies frustrated to the point of being more focused on keeping them out of the crease than stopping a shot.

What does this have to do with the Blue Jackets?

Well, maybe everything - considering the team doesn’t necessarily have a Tom Wilson or Patrick Hornqvist. 

Some don't consider this an issue, but it may be affecting the Jackets in the postseason and throughout a grind of an 82-game year more than we think. Sometimes a big fight or explosive hit in a one-goal deficit can ignite a team to step up their play. 

The Jackets have some big bodies - Boone, Anderson, sort of Dubinsky. But these three in particular also focus heavily on scoring goals and setting up plays. They're not primed to drop the gloves at any moment.

Example A:

Example B:

The Jackets clearly have done way with the idea that they are in need of players like Boll and Prout, and would rather keep the roster stacked with talent and quick players that can lay a check when needed. They don't seem worried about missing out on a true enforcer. 

The question is then, do the Blue Jackets need this true enforcer if they wish to advance past the first round in the playoffs? Or can they rely more so on a slew of relatively big bodies that they already posses? 

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