The Blue Jackets Have Been Accused of Sloppiness and the Proof is in the Pudding

By Sam Blazer on January 20, 2021 at 2:08 pm
Detroit Red Wings right wing Anthony Mantha (39) checks Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (44) during the second period at Little Caesars Arena.
Tim Fuller - USA Today Sports
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"There wasn't much offense by either team. The past couple of games right on through tonight, we just haven't developed enough. It's been sloppy," said Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella after their overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

The sloppiness seems to be contagious as multiple Blue Jacket players to start the season have been unable to find their proverbial footing. 

The proof is plain as day to anyone watching. The top players including Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, and Cam Atkinson have all been playing poorly and not playing up to a standard that has been set for them.

With expectations for Seth Jones to be a Norris caliber defenseman, this start is not only indefensible, but it is also downright befuddling. Whatever sacrifices that have been made for the sake of offense have not come through and while he has had a game or so with high shots on goal volume, what is coming back down the other end of the ice is entirely too much.

Werenski has not been far off from Jones in that regard. Multiple odd-man rushes have been given up while the two are on the ice and it makes sense that they are now being split up as a pairing. Similarly, Atkinson has said openly that he is ready for a big role but has seen more goals against while he is on the ice than points on the board. 

It begins to put the coach in an odd spot whether they need to be played until they get back to a proper spot or do they need to be made an example of. Given their time in the league and how they've performed before, the answer is going to be a lot more nuanced.

"I think we have to be a lot better in a lot of areas of our game," forward Boone Jenner said post-game. "We have to be a lot better to give ourselves a better chance there."

The lines are in a blender right now because of the lack of improvement and that may contribute to some sloppiness. Yet, it can't be used as an excuse when the results prior to that weren't yielding anything either. In fact, the young upstarts seem to be the only people that you can put any faith in. 

Forwards Alexander Texier and Liam Foudy have been bright spots. Texier scoring three goals in three games and Foudy contributing with positive possession They shouldn't have to carry this load and if they do continue to carry the team, that is the sign of a team in flux. This is a team that needs five or six guys going and not enough players are on that same wavelength

You begin to wonder where the ripcord is and if it might be pulled. As of right now, patience is going to be preached. After all, it is all that can really be done other than a dramatic shakeup. 

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