You had to think that with Columbus’ 2-11-1 start and after getting blown out by Philadelphia 9-2 on Saturday night that changes were coming. Instead of firing the GM or the coach, Scott Arniel is going to do something even more drastic behind the bench. Instead of the Jackets bringing back one old friend in Ken Hitchcock, they’ll bring back another one in the form of good old defensive minded hockey.
They’re bringing back the trap.
Shawn Mitchell of Puck Rakers gets the word from Arniel that rather than be a free skating, run-and-gun team the Jackets are going to dial things back a lot.
“It isn’t a gigantic, major overhaul,” Arniel said. “But we have gone back and put a lot of emphasis on the guys without the puck, on clogging the center of the ice.”
Clogging the center of the ice? This sounds a little bit like the 90s and 2000s with the trap, dead-puck era and for fans that are already getting tortured by bad hockey, now they’ll get bad hockey and the trap.
Arniel tips his hand in explaining why he’s making the change.
“Prior to (now) we probably were playing a high-risk game,” Arniel said. “Ultimately it’s the way I’ve coached and played. It’s the most exciting hockey. Players love to play that style. Coaches love to coach that style. But it’s also one that can give you fits when you don’t have good goaltending or you don’t have the defense that can sustain that.”
That’s right Jackets fans, you want someone to blame for having to watching boring hockey you can blame Steve Mason. In truth, this is a move that should help out Mason in a big way. After all, Mason had his best success when Hitchcock and his defense-first philosophy ran the show there.
If it doesn’t help Mason, however, the only answer left might be a full-on housecleaning.