The Blue Jackets Are The Team That No One Wants to Play, Especially in the Playoffs

By Jacob Nitzberg on October 27, 2020 at 12:15 pm
Aug 9, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist (14) and forward Boone Jenner (38)and defenseman Seth Jones (3) and forward Nick Foligno (71) celebrate a goal by defenseman Zach Werenski (8) against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period of game five of the Eastern Conference qualifications at Scotiabank Arena.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

John Tortorella's preferred style of play isn't necessarily pretty.

That's okay, though. It certainly gets the job done. With Tortorella at the helm, the Blue Jackets have become the team that nobody in the NHL wants to play, due to their shot-blocking, hard forechecking, and willingness to give 110% whenever they're on the ice.

NHL Network's Mike Johnson had some praise for the Blue Jackets' squad and how they play the game:

Johnson, who played 661 games in the NHL and tallied 129-246-375, said that "(the Blue Jackets) don't need to score a ton of goals. They're a defense-first team, and if they can get to 3 (goals), they're going to win a lot of games."

He noted that "(the Blue Jackets) have their goaltending, regardless of injury, they have their stars on defense in (Seth) Jones and (Zach) Werenski...I think (Vladislav) Gavrikov's a really good player as well." 

Though the Blue Jackets' strength will be their defense once again, they'll be hoping to get more offensive production this season, and newcomer Max Domi can certainly help out with that. 

"Just general health will make them much better."– NHL Network's Mike Johnson on the Blue Jackets' roster

When you look at who the Blue Jackets were putting out on the ice in the beginning of March, and even during the playoffs, it's incomprehensible how they were able to find a way to scratch and claw their way into games. The list of players who were injured during the 2019-20 season and missed games is a long one:

  • Seth Jones
  • Oliver Bjorkstrand
  • Cam Atkinson
  • Alexandre Texier
  • Josh Anderson*
  • Dean Kukan
  • Brandon Dubinsky (did not play)
  • Elvis Merzlikins
  • Nathan Gerbe
  • Zach Werenski
  • Markus Nutivaara
  • Alexander Wennberg*
  • Joonas Korpisalo
  • Ryan Murray*

* denotes a player who is no longer on the Blue Jackets.

Having a fully healthy roster was foreign to the Blue Jackets last season, and if they can achieve that at any point, they'll be a much better team: "Just general health will make them much better," Johnson said. 

With the current uncertainty of the 2020-21 NHL season's schedule, there is a hidden positive: it will allow players who are rehabbing injuries some extra time to get back in hockey shape. Hopefully, when opening night rolls around, the Blue Jackets are feeling healthy. 

Even if they're missing a couple starters, one thing's still for sure: nobody is going to want to play them.

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