Playoff Dreams for the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Light the LampSenior Writer IFebruary 3, 2008

Currently, the Jackets are 11th in the Western Conference—just three points out of the playoffs, despite their horrid three-game losing streak after the break.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, many teams above and below them in the standings have multiple games at hand on them.

Last year it took 96 points for the eighth-place team to reach the playoffs. The Jackets, who sit at 56 points after 54 games, would have to win 20 of their remaining 28 games to hit that mark.

Heck, even with the parity in the West I suspect it will take about 92 points to get in. That would mean winning 18 of their next 28.

I think what hurts the most about this three-game slump are that two of these games were at home and knowing our road record—well, let's just say I'm not optimistic. They are buy no means out of it but they aren't doing themselves any favors at this point.

Still though this team has played above expectations and will finish with the best record in history taking some big leaps forward—playoffs or no playoffs.

Coming into the season the Jackets were a wreck defensively, in goal and on offense.

Now they are just a wreck on offense, thanks to some big-time coaching by Hitch and his staff, and some key but modest acquisitions by Howson in the offseason. Those are two pieces of the puzzle that have been improved in a big way and are part of building that "foundation" that has always been lacking in this organization.

This offseason I fully expect the offensive puzzle to be greatly improved. Mind you, a lot of offense is created defensively so I think the improvements start there.

The Jackets will stay in the race and competitive but I expect some major moves at the deadline in preparation for us finally having a legit playoff team next year as I just don't think we've got the horses to remain in the race this season but stranger things have happened.