During the first five weeks of the season we put ourselves in a hole from which we have been trying to dig out ever since. Through November 10, we had won just two of our 16 games. What transpired over the next four weeks offered some encouragement and I was pleased with the way our team was playing heading into last Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.
We had gone 7-5-3 in 15 games from November 12 to December 13 and I thought the team was playing with more structure and competing much more consistently than early in the season. Our goals-against were coming down, we saw improvement in our special teams play and were a much better team on the road.
The final two games of our recent homestand against the Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning were disappointments and represented a step back. We simply did not generate enough offense to win those games. I thought we rebounded well last Sunday night against the Blues in St. Louis. We competed well, but did not get the result.
To provide a few updates on our team from an injury standpoint, Radek Martinek continues to progress from the concussion he suffered early in the season but we still don’t have a timetable for when he will return to the lineup. Mark Dekanich continues to rehab and is getting closer to returning. When he is cleared to practice he will do so with the Springfield Falcons.
Speaking of Springfield, Cody Bass was injured in practice on Monday and looks like he will need season-ending shoulder surgery. This is very disappointing as Cody has played well both here and in Springfield. He has tremendous character and does the right things both on and off the ice and his loss will be felt throughout the organization.
At this time of year, much of the hockey world turns its attention to the World Junior Championships, which will be held in Edmonton and Calgary between December 26 and January 5. Boone Jenner, our first pick in last year’s draft, scored a goal for Canada in a 3-1 win over Finland on Monday in the team’s first preseason game. Anton Forsberg got a shutout for Sweden in its 8-0 win over Denmark. We are still waiting to see if Lukas Sedlak (Czech Republic), Petr Straka (Czech Republic) and T.J. Tynan (United States) make their respective teams and will be watching the tournament very closely.
Earlier this month, we hired Craig Patrick as a senior advisor, hockey operations and it was great to have Craig in Columbus last weekend after he spent a few days in Springfield the week before. I very much look forward to hearing his thoughts on our team as he gets more familiar with us and the players. He has won at all levels in our game from Olympic gold medals to Stanley Cup championships and gives us another voice moving forward as we work to improve our hockey club.
I hope everyone has great holiday season and a safe and happy new year. Thanks for your support of Blue Jackets hockey. As a reminder, you can follow me on Twitter at @GMScottHowson.