An Injury to Jeff Carter really hurt the team's offense. (Terry Gilliam/Associated Press)

 

 

Sorry for not posting yesterday. As many of you know, I’m a HUGE racing fan. The entire racing world took a huge hit on Sunday as 2 time Indy 500 winner and 2005 Indycar Champion Dan Wheldon was killed in a horrific 15 car crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was an extremley sad moment in the world of racing, and as a racer myself, found it hard to concentrate.

 

 

The Blue Jackets were supposed to be improved in 2011-2012. With the additions of forwards Jeff Carter and Vinny Prospal and defenseman James Wisnewski, the team finally looked like they were heading in a good direction. Steve Mason returns as starter, and this year isn’t challenged for that spot.
Well here’s the deal. Carter was placed on Injured Reserve today, James Wisnewski is suspended for 8 games and Steve Mason has played terrible. In 5 games this year, they still have yet to win, and lost once in OT. With the Winnipeg Jets beating the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, the Blue Jackets are now last in the NHL with only 1 point.  Carter, the Blue Jackets’ major off-season acquisition, has a hairline crack on the top of his right foot and will be out of tonight’s lineup for their home opener against the Dallas Stars. Good news for the Blue Jackets, he is only listed day-to-day. He was only able to produce three assists so far this season.

 

Wisnewski, on the other hand, was suspended in the pre-season for three exhibition games and eight regular-season games for a hit to the head on Cal Clutterbuck, and will not be allowed to play until Oct 25. He will forfeit over $536K in salary. Wisnewski, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens for only a 7th round draft pick, was brought in to produce offense from the back end, with a physical side. Obviously, the physical side has shown, and he is still out.

 

Steve Mason had to live up to big expectations after winning the Calder trophy for rookie of the year in 2008-2009. But he was never able to live up to them, with 44 wins and 47 losses in the last 2 years combined. His goals-against and save percentage have been just awful, with an average of 3.04GAA and .901SP. He was outplayed by former Blue Jacket Mathieu Garon during this time, yet still received the most starts. He must play with more consistency in order to maximize his National Hockey League potential as a starting netminder. With 2 more years left on his contract at $2.9M per, Mason better step up, or he may not have a job once his deal is up. The Blue Jackets have been reportedly searching for another goalie, like Evgeni Nabkov or Jonathan Bernier. They still have faith in Mason, but if they continue to lose, a change is in order.

The power play, which was expected to be improved due to the additions of Wisniewski and Carter, has been a disaster, managing to convert on just one of its 25 attempts. The fan support hasn’t been there, with only a combined 17,000 people at their last 2 home games. Montreal could get that much in 5 minutes. But you can’t blame them: the team isn’t doing anything worth watching.

Yes, it’s only 5 games into the season, but the main players expected to make a difference have not. Prospal and star Rick Nash have been leading the offense, with 5 points each, but are not getting any secondary scoring. Carter is third in points, but after? Grant Clitsome. Ya, a little known defenseman. Jeff Carter was one of the top goal scorers the last 3 years, and Nash is the youngest player to ever win the Maurice Richard trophy as top goal scorer in the NHL, so scoring shouldn’t be a problem. The top line has been better, but no body ever expected Prospal to have more points then Carter at this point.

After Mason, there is Curtis Sanford (injured), Mark Dekanich (Injured), Allen York, Anton Forsberg, Martin Ouellette and Mathieu Corbeil (Who is currently up with the team). Not exactly the strongest goaltending. The team can always search for work elsewhere, like Marty Turco for example. He can be brought in to mentor Mason, and win games when Mason isn’t in net.

So will the team rebound? I think they still have the strength to make the playoffs, but they need to step it up quick. Maybe a coaching or GM change is in order?

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL

 

About The Author

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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