Confidence Issues: The Blue Jackets Are Struggling To Find Consistency In Their Game

By Jacob Nitzberg on February 27, 2021 at 6:25 pm
Feb 27, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand (28) takes a shot on goal against Nashville Predators right wing Rocco Grimaldi (23) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena.
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets have struggled all season, and there are many areas where you might think the issues come from.

John Tortorella thinks his team isn't making the simple plays because they're lacking confidence. In their first 22 games, the Blue Jackets have put it together for a couple periods at time, and rarely a whole game, but they haven't been able to play their brand of hockey for a consistent amount of time.

"We just don't have much confidence, as far as making plays," said Tortorella after the Blue Jackets' dull, 2-1 loss to the Predators earlier this afternoon. Scoring chances for the contest were 20-15, Predators. High-danger chances were 6-5, Predators. The Blue Jackets have 1 goal in their last 120 minutes of hockey, but they've played solid defensively over that stretch. 

"This is who we are. We've been this way all year long, and it's why our record is the way it is," said Tortorella. "I'm not down. There no sense in being down. There's no sense of drilling them and being frustrated. We have simply got to work ourselves out of this and try to gain some confidence within our whole squad as far as making puck plays." 

The Blue Jackets are a hard working team, and effort isn't one of their problems this season. Their point-scorers simply aren't producing, and they need players like Max Domi, Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, and Alexandre Texier to chip in more.

"We have to help one another. That's the only way we're going to regain some sort of composure and confidence with the puck. I'm talking about some pretty good players that we have here," said Tortorella.

Cam Atkinson has been one of the only consistent forwards for the Blue Jackets, and he continued his scoring ways tonight. "I thought we had a pretty good first period...for whatever reason, it seems like there's ten minutes in the second period every game that we just kind of take our foot off the gas pedal and that's when bad things happen to us," said Atkinson, whose first-period goal gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead at the 7:26 mark. Mattias Ekholm tallied twice in the second period to give Nashville a lead that they wouldn't relinquish, and the frustration carried over to the postgame press conference for Atkinson. 

"We work hard. We support each other. But ultimately we have to score more goals," said the Blue Jackets winger. Atkinson now has 9-8-17 in 22 games, and he leads the team in both points and goals.

"It's frustrating, but we can't get frustrated. We know we are better, individually and as a team," said goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, whose quality start was for naught as the Blue Jackets couldn't give him any offensive support. The Finnish netminder saved 31 of 33 shots, but he's now 0-3-2 over his last five starts.

They don't have much time to reflect on today, because they're right back at it tomorrow at 3:00 P.M. against the Predators, again. The sooner they can get their scoring going, the better. Right now, they're on the outside looking in, and they won't be in the playoff picture at all this season if they can't turn it around.

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