In our season preview, none of the prognosticators selected Todd Richards of the Columbus Blue Jackets as the first coach fired. After all, this is a stacked roster with a ton of momentum and optimism, right?
The Jackets are now 0-3-0 after losing to Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres (tm) on Monday. It’s only the second time in franchise history that they’ve started pointless in three games, but it’s not the first time they’ve stumbled out of the gate under Richards. Here’s their record after the first month of the season under Richards, who took over the Jackets in 2011-12.
2012-13: 4-10-2 (Jan. 21-Feb. 21)
So the Jackets should have seen this coming. Which is what made captain Nick Foligno’s postgame words rather interesting, via Puck-Rakers:
“[We need] a do-or-die attitude,” Foligno said. “We don’t feel like there are any consequences if we’re making mistakes, and we’re not getting pucks in deep, we’re swinging off checks. We’re not playing our system fully. It’s disappointing because we think it’s just going to happen with a snap of the finger, a flip of the switch. It’s not happening right now. It’s too good of a league. We have to be better.”
Which made star center Ryan Johansen’s comments even more interesting:
“In sports, it’s never going to be all rainbows and butterflies,” Johansen said.
Asked if this felt like last season, when the Blue Jackets were 6-15-2 by the end of November, Johansen shot it down.
“Not at all,” he said. “We’re probably, what, three points out of a playoff spot right now? Three or four? Why not just start something, start a streak going. We have a home stretch here. Win a few games at home, and we’re right back where we want to be. We have absolutely nothing to worry about. We’re going to the drawing board knowing what we need to fix already. There’s no mystery with what we need to fix. We have to be more disciplined and manage the gray areas better.”
ALL IS WELL! REMAIN CALM! ALL IS WELL!
It is super early, but again, this is a thing that Columbus does. They have a goal differential of minus-7. RyJo has three points and Brandon Saad has two goals, but the supporting cast hasn’t shown up yet. Sergei Bobrovsky is rocking an .850 save percentage.
Richards is signed through 2017, so he has that going for him. He also eventually gets this team playing well, when it’s not devastated by injuries, so he’s got that too.
But the expectations are sky high for the Jackets this season; one wonders how much leeway they’ll have if this is a prolonged stumble.
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