The Blue Jackets are still in it, folks.
With 23 games remaining, they're just two points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. MoneyPuck gives Columbus a 6.8% chance to make the playoffs, which isn't great, but it is a chance.
On 97.1 The Fan yesterday, John Tortorella spoke about his team's development throughout the season, and what the club's plans are as they approach the April 12th trade deadline.
"We haven't had any conversations regarding the trade deadline and where we are as a team. We still have a number of games to be played here. I think conversations will happen," said Tortorella.
Those conversations haven't happened yet for a few reasons. Firstly, the Blue Jackets don't know if they'll be buyers or sellers at the deadline. They're one cold or hot streak away from figuring that out, but in their current state, they're just not sure.
"Jarmo's always been very good at asking the coach's opinion as far as what we are as a team, what we need to improve at...it comes down to that question, it's always the buyers and sellers at the deadline. I think those conversations will come up," said Tortorella.
Their focus is also on one game at a time. It's difficult to manage both the long-term and the short-term at the same time, and the Blue Jackets are focused on short-term results right now. That's not to say that Kekalainen and co. haven't been doing their due diligence as the deadline approaches, but they'll have an easier time making a move once they know the direction that the club is heading.
"We've been grinding, trying to get us to play as a team and have some sort of identity as a club," said Tortorella. "That's been hard this year. We've taken steps in the right direction. I think MacInnis's line has really given us a jolt of energy and I think everybody's kind of joined in at that part of the game...right now, we're just talking about the next game."
Tortorella has preached identity all year, and the Blue Jackets are maybe, just maybe, developing one of their own. Monday's 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes was a stinker, but they have a chance to right the ship tomorrow night with a win. Two points on Thursday would give the Blue Jackets six from the four-game series against the Hurricanes, and put them in better shape in the standings.
Follow 1st Ohio Battery