VIEW FROM THE TOP: Columbus Blue Jackets
As the self-appointed spokesmen/woman of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, we are using the idea of "To the victors go the spoils" quite seriously. What we will do between now and the night the Stanley Cup banner is raised in the United Center is point out the shortcomings of all the teams that won't have four crisp new banners in their rafters. We continue this series with the Columbus Blue Jackets
Ah, the Blue Jackets. What can you say about a team whose best offseason move consisted of switching conferences? Seriously though, I think the move to the Metro Division is going to work out really well for Columbus. In the new alignment, only Pittsburgh(72), the Rangers (56) and the Caps (57) outpointed the Jackets (55) last year. Factor in that most of Washington's came at the expense of divisional punching bags like the Jets, Florida and Tampa, and Columbus should find itself in the playoff hunt.
Frankly, I'm glad to see them go. Columbus was a pain in the ass, a classic pest team. The Hawks beat them in all 4 meetings last season, but each game was decided by one goal, with one coming in overtime and another in the shootout. You know, I'm supposed to be mocking this team right now, but I'm having a hard time. Let's take a look at the positions and see if we can do better there.
Here we go. Columbus was 25th in goals for last year, but they made some moves by trading for a contract-drive Marian Gaborik and giving a massive contract to the Reverend Nathan Horton Heat. Granted, the last time Gaborik was in a contract season he missed 3/4 of the season with a hip injury and Horton's got one 30 goal season to his name. But I'm sure this will all work out for them.
As for the rest of these guys...lots of REGULAR LUNCH PAIL GUYS like Brandon Dubinsky, Donald Foligno, Mark Letestu, RJ Umberger...mmm...Umberger...
Remember when the Hawks had Brent Sutter as their second line center? The Blue Jackets would kill to have a player as offensively dynamic as Brent Sutter.
Jared Boll is that guy that everyone says you'd love if he was on your team but that's because if he's on your team you can just hate the GM and cut out the middle man.
Oh, and the Jackets signed Jack Skille. Fork just got a boner reading this.
James Wisniewski's massive contract is still hilarious to me. Here's a fun game, read Wiz's Wikipedia entry and see which phrase occurs more times:
- injury shortened
- suspended for
- traded to
Anyway, the rest of the defensive corps isn't too bad, although Jack Johnson is still convinced this whole thing trade to Columbus thing is a horrible waking nightmare. The only thing I'm going to miss about Columbus is Pat Foley's joyous pronunciation of "Fedor Tyutin".
Sergei Bobrovsky is the big question here. He's shown he can give you 40 good games or so, but needs to do more now that he's the unquestioned starter. I'm certain he will, if only because of the Universal Hockey Law that says the Flyers must completely fuck up everything they touch.
Mike Commodore's buyout will only count against the Jackets' cap for 2 more seasons. Everyone at the Committed Indian got a boner while reading this.
For the first time in a while, Columbus is looking up.
ARE THEY BETTER THAN THE BLACKHAWKS:
No. But they should compete for a playoff spot.