Last stand for Arniel and Howson?

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The Columbus Blue Jackets are in Philadelphia to play the Flyers on Saturday, but it’s the day of their next game that’s really worth noting. That would be Thursday, when the Jackets host the Blackhawks.

Hmmm, what could happen when a team with a horrendous record gets four days off?

If coach Scott Arniel and/or general manager Scott Howson are going to be relieved of their duties, next week will be as good a time as any for the the trigger to be pulled. Even a win in Philly might not make a difference if plans are already in motion.

Of course, that’s assuming Arniel and/or Howson are actually in danger of losing their jobs. Common sense tells you they should be. The Jackets have been losing with Arniel behind the bench since last February, and Howson’s the one who assembled the group that’s currently 2-10-1, dead last in the NHL. The GM’s failure to address the goaltending issue while racking up millions in payroll has been especially damning given the play of Steve Mason.

But club president Mike Priest denied last weekend’s Columbus Dispatch report that changes were imminent. Those reported changes included the re-appointment of Ken Hitchcock as coach and the hiring of Craig Button as GM.

The Jackets are coming off a 4-1 home loss against Toronto in which they were down four goals just 5:31 into the second period.