A Trip To Finland Is A Welcome Sight For The Flailing Columbus Blue Jackets

By Dan Dukart on October 31, 2022 at 10:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins after conceding a goal
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets may as well have been playing football on Sunday, as they gave up a touchdown in a shameful 7-1 loss against the New Hersey Devils. 

The only thing the Blue Jackets appeared capable of shutting down was the locker room door after the game, where they reportedly held a meeting to discuss whatever the hell it was that some of us watched on an otherwise pleasant fall weekend.

Yes, these are trying times. 

After the game, the Blue Jackets departed for Tampere for the 2022 NHL Global Series where they'll play the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche for a pair of games on Nov. 4 & 5. Perhaps the trip to upcoming trip to Finland can serve as something of a reset for the club. Not exactly the ideal team to face in the midst of a spiral, but the long trip should allow for plenty of team-building, soul-searching, and general camaraderie. Goodness knows they need it.

It's difficult to even know where to start with the problems on this team. The club went 0-for October on the power play. That's unfathomable. The goaltending has been atrocious, the defense porous, and the offense is often absent. Head coach Brad Larsen has been noble in deflecting away from the team and instead is taking the brunt of the blame. Maybe he's right. 

Losing is one thing. Getting humiliated consistently is another

The season is 10 games old. There are still 72 games remaining on the slate.

The pessimist in me tends to think the team should just lean into the suck. This is a helluva year to be a bad club, with a handful of elite players at the top of the 2023 NHL Draft. Plus, if you're not going to compete for the playoffs, what's the sense of being average? Hasn't sustained mediocrity just led us to where this team stands today?

The realist in me thinks there's no way they can be this bad, that the NHL is an unforgiving league, and that giving up an extra free goal per game will inherently lead to a lot of losses. They're not a playoff team, but they could still be competitive and develop their young players in a manner that won't stunt their long-term prospects.

The optimist in me hopes that a week in Finland is exactly the antidote this club needs to heal, move forward, and dig out of the hole they already seemed to have dug themselves. 

“We don’t play until Friday", Larsen said after Sunday's game. "Maybe this is the perfect time to reset. That’s what we’re hoping for.”

Time will tell which version becomes reality.