It would have been fascinating to be a fly (or more appropriately, a cricket) on the wall during the Columbus Blue Jackets’ second intermission tonight. What do you say to a team that fell behind 8-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers on its way to a 9-2 loss and 2-11-1 record?
In a way, that depressing locker room scenario mirrors the messy big picture in Columbus. By all reasonable measures of logic, GM Scott Howson and head coach Scott Arniel are on their way out. Jason rightly indicated that could happen anytime between now and their next game on Thursday (and that was before one of the worst beatings in franchise history).
Obviously, we’ll keep an eye out for an official decision during that period (or maybe beyond), but the Blue Jackets face some tough questions regardless of when the inevitable should happen.
1. The Blue Jackets are stuck at five points for the season while no other Western Conference team is below 11. Should they just “punt” 2011-12 anyway and hope for Nail Yakupov or some other top prospect to spearhead a new direction?
2. Steve Mason allowed six of those goals tonight. Is it best to give him time to turn it around under a new regime or should the team cut ties with their letdown in leg pads?
3. Is Ken Hitchcock the best man to do a Jacques Lemaire impression or would it be best to go in a different direction in the front office?
Those questions show why it’s often more complicated than just pressing the big red “fire” button. Still, sometimes the results are so stark that it’s the only thing to do – but how would you try to turn this moribund franchise around once that happens?