Columbus Blue Jackets: More Gloom Ahead at Trade Deadline?

Nate SantoianniCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2009

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been 1-2 since my post-break outlook. That was not exactly the boost that I had in mind.
Standout goaltender Steve Mason has been officially diagnosed with mono—though it has been reported that he was suffering with the virus for quite some time and should be “over” the more trying parts.

This hurts.

Backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz starts tomorrow in Pittsburgh against the offensive juggernaut that is Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who are first and second, respectively, in the NHL scoring race?


Yeah, a bit.

What about beyond this? Do the Blue Jackets stand a chance at making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history?

Certainly, but the pack is starting to separate. What was a six-team bottleneck has turned into only the Edmonton Oilers, Blue Jackets, and Phoenix Coyotes on the outside looking in.

On the bright side though, the Blue Jackets are only four points out of the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

The trade deadline is less than a month away. Last year, four points out of eighth, the Blue Jackets were sellers. A season ago, the Washington Capitals were also four points out—but they were buyers, and subsequently made the postseason.

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson has said that the Jackets will be buyers at this year's deadline.

I’ll believe that when I see it.

Howson is holding a pair of sixes and treating it like a full house. If you really want a top center Howson, you have to be willing to part with Kris Russell.

For the love of God, this fan base cannot stomach another “wait till next year.”

For the first time in Blue Jackets franchise history, television ratings and ticket sales are growing! Now is the time to get in the playoffs—even if it means a first round exit.

What I fear most is that the deadline will pass the Blue Jackets as it has done so many times before. Howson will get some offers, but he’ll pass, because as would probably say, “They wanted too much."

Toronto Maple Leafs' Nick Antropov will go elsewhere, and even our “backup” plans (Doug Weight, Chris Kelly, etc.) will find homes somewhere other than Columbus.

Howson needs to take a step back and look at what he’s got. Yes, the Blue Jackets are well-positioned to potentially have a strong team in, oh, three years.

But Blue Jackets fans cannot and will not, wait that long. They need to make the playoffs now.

The Blue Jackets need to strike while fans are still tuning into Fox Sports Net to watch the team's games.

Act now!


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