Tag: Scott Arniel

Scott Arniel

Scott Arniel questions reporters, realizes they’re right, complains some, then storms off


There was a rather uncomfortable scene at the podium last night following Columbus’ 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel — clearly pissed about his team blowing a two-goal lead by allowing four goals in the third period — didn’t take too kindly to one reporter’s query.

Arniel was asked about his team’s lacklustre 4-on-4 play (Columbus allowed two goals in 28 seconds at 4-on-4) by WBNS-FM reporter Lori Schmidt, which set off a mini-tirade. The only available video has a “Blair Witch” quality to it, so I’ll provide you the transcript.

Schmidt: You’ve got skilled players, but on 4-on-4 where you think that skill would show up, it hasn’t necessarily treated you kindly…

Arniel: They have skill too, if you didn’t notice. They had all their skill out there too. They made a skill play and I don’t think Mase [Steve Mason] even saw that one where they had traffic in front, they threw a wrister up from way up top that found its way into the net.

Schmidt: But throughout the season, have you noticed something on 4-on-4?

Arniel: Have you noticed that 4-on-4 that we’ve been beaten up 4-on-4? Goals against? I don’t think so. I’ll go and show you the stats on that if you want. That hasn’t been a problem for us, but it was tonight

Random reporter: You’ve been outscored 8-1.

Arniel: Is that what it is? Okay, well I guess you guys have all the answers and are just waiting to jump, so…I guess well have to work on that too. So just keep piling it on, whatever you want, just keep piling on.

/walks away

It’s unsurprising that Arniel’s reached his breaking point. The Jackets have been consistently awful and are dead last in the NHL, yet he’s avoided execution (or, it could be argued, a mercy killing) whereas five other coaches haven’t. The two teams directly ahead of Columbus in the standings — 29th-place Anaheim and 28th-place Carolina — turfed their coaches in an effort to turn things around, yet the BJs remain defiant.

James Wisniewski breaks his ankle during Columbus win

Columbus Blue Jackets Press Conference Introducing New Players Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski

Columbus Blue Jackets fans probably know the drill by now.

The Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 for their first regulation road win of the season, but it naturally came at a huge cost. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline passes along word from Columbus head coach Scott Arniel that James Wisniewski broke his ankle during the game.

The somewhat good news is that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said it’s not necessarily a season-ending injury and that doctors will examine the damage on Friday.

Either way, Wisniewski has suffered through a disastrous debut season as a member of the Blue Jackets. He started it off with that notorious eight-game suspension. Things have been a little rocky on the ice, too, as his solid 17 points have been overshadowed by a -18 rating.

Suspensions and injuries have been a frequent nuisance in Wisniewski’s career; the 75 games he played in 2010-11 were a career-high. Still, this season seems like a concentrated combination of every issue that nagged him during his career: sloppy defensive play, discipline issues and now health problems have plagued his 2011-12.

Blue Jackets used holiday break to “clear our brains a little bit”

Scott Arniel

Say this about Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel — he’s really good at keeping positive. Scary good, even.

The BJs entered the Christmas break on arguably the worst note imaginable (which is saying something, given their entire season has been a collective sour note.) They blew leads of 4-1 and 5-2 to Nashville, surrendering the winning goal with 8.4 seconds left. That was Columbus’ fourth loss in a row and fifth in its last six.

Yet Arniel managed to find the silver lining of going into the break on such a downer.

“It was a chance to get away and clear our brains a little bit,” he told NHL.com. “We can’t dwell on what’s happened and we’ve got to move forward. We’ve seen some of those ugly games happen, but we have to take responsibility for it and we have to find a way the next time we’re in that position to get a better result.”

Regardless of what happens to Arniel this season — and hey, he outlasted five other coaches this season, so he’ll always have that! — he should be applauded for how he’s handled adversity. Arniel’s managed to take the high road on a number of incidents: He’s rarely ripped his team or players publicly, didn’t address rumors that he was going to be replaced by Ken Hitchcock and refrained from firing back at player agent Alan Walsh after Walsh tweeted “this coach has a history of burying players and using them as scapegoats to mask his own lack of success on the ice.”

In a related story, Arniel will go back to Steve Mason in goal tonight against the Blackhawks. Backup Curtis Sanford has predictably returned to earth (he was on the hook for all six goals against Nashville) and is dealing with back spasms, forcing Mason into duty.

The last time he played, Mason allowed five goals on 33 shots in a loss to St. Louis.

Deep breaths, coach. Deep breaths…

Predators emerge from 4-1 hole to beat Columbus


After gathering with torches and demanding the head of the Scotts (Howson and Arniel) in Columbus a while, the firing fire seemed to die down. The angry mob likely disspiated thanks to a combination of great work by Curtis Sanford and general shock that the Blue Jackets’ duo simply weren’t going to get canned.

The furor might rise again, however, after the Blue Jackets coughed up two three-goal leads to the Nashville Predators. Columbus went up 4-1 with about four minutes to go in the first period and 5-2 eight minutes into the second, but the Preds came roaring back. Martin Erat added injury to insult by depriving CBJ of a face-saving point by scoring a 6-5 game-winner with nine seconds left.

This loss is the humiliating cherry on top of a sundae of embarrassment for the Blue Jackets, but the Predators deserve credit for charging back into that game. Although the Predators’ 2.68 goal-per-game average is about on par with last season’s 2.6, Nashville came into tonight’s game with the 13th-ranked scoring average in the NHL. Maybe it’s just a few steps in the right direction, but teams shouldn’t assume that they can just sit on leads against the industrious Preds anymore.

Well, teams as bad as Columbus, at least.

There’s some talk that Sanford wasn’t really healthy enough to be in net, but context can’t save Columbus right now. You have to wonder if this might be the last straw, although most of us assumed the camel’s back was already broken months ago.

Scott Howson might be delusional

Scott Howson

We might have to start worrying about Jackets GM Scott Howson’s sense of reality.

While we’ve seen six different teams make coaching changes this season, the Blue Jackets have held on to Scott Arniel despite having the worst record in the league. While that’s noble of Howson to stick to his guy, that’s not the most delusional thing he’s done this year.

Howson still thinks Columbus has a shot at the playoffs. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch relays Howson’s ability to hang on to that postseason dream and not recognize that the chase could very well be over before Santa Claus shows up.

Strange things happen in sports. We’ve certainly dug a hole for ourselves. It’s a requirement of being in pro sports to keep banging at the door, no matter what’s going on. So, no, I’m not going to acknowledge that.”

It’s noble that Howson is believing in his coach and his team to get things turned around enough to challenge for the postseason, but last year’s Devils were in a similar position (20 points in 33 games, 18 points out of eighth) and while they threatened to make the playoffs with an incredible run, they fell short in the end.

Columbus is just 15 points behind Dallas for eighth-place in the Western Conference right now, but if Howson is banking on a huge run to get them back into things, he’d better start looking for moves to make to try and fix things up. The Western Conference and Central Division a bit more difficult than what the Devils dealt with last year.