News broke earlier today that Blue Jackets all star defenseman Seth Jones underwent surgery to repair his fractured ankle. Jones heads to the IR as he will now be out eight to ten weeks. With arguably the best defensive pairing in the league between him and Zach Werenski, the loss of Jones certainly stings.
On top of that, the Blue Jackets have strung together two heartbreaking losses between Colorado over the weekend and Tampa last night. Seth Jones put Columbus on the board first in the game against the Avalanche, only to have the opposition hang two unanswered goals on Columbus, thus ending the Jackets’ point streak.
While Columbus escaped with a point against the Lightning in an overtime loss, the team’s well-documented scoring woes have become even more glaringly obvious against teams that are serious playoff contenders. While no one picked the Blue Jackets to go the distance, but to be perfectly honest, the thought of that becoming a reality crossed my mind a couple times this season. If you think that’s so ludicrous, I’d like to refer you to last year’s St. Louis Blues. That team was in last place in their division at this time 12 months ago.
Nevertheless, there is a wakeup call to be had here and that is the anemic scoring efforts of the team. When I watched last week’s game against the Panthers, I watched shot after shot from Columbus head straight into the main jersey logo of Sergey Bobrovsky. While putting 40+ shots on goals sounds impressive, they aren’t really quality shots when everything is center mass on the goalie and he doesn’t have to move to make the stop.
Losing skids hit every team in the league at some point or another during the season. Columbus started off struggling but eventually found their way despite their injuries. With the subtraction of Seth Jones, however, the team now loses a key cog in their defensive machine. Compound that with their inability to slip more than a couple pucks past opposing netminders and we’ll have ourselves a losing skid when most teams are ramping up for a playoff run.
This Columbus team has shown perseverance time and again during the the 19-20 season. What they will be able to do now when down an all star will show if this team is for real or if the gas tank is finally empty.