There are so many fire- and flame-related puns that could apply to a post about a game against the Calgary Flames. The increasingly hot seats under the respective derrieres of Scott Arniel and Scott Howson; the apparent flame-out of the collective psyche of the team after blowing a 4-1 lead; the "fire-sale" of key components of the team (or at least we thought they were key components of the team when they were signed to extensions). And so forth.
As I told another blogger this evening, I'm beginning to understand what it must feel like to be an Islanders fan. You know... that feeling of having absolutely no hope whatsoever.
You still can't picture it? Ask a Cleveland Browns fan.
Obviously, the Jackets' effort tonight was not totally lacking by any means. And frankly, Steve Mason was pretty damn good throughout the game. The one that got past him was tragic... it took until the second or third replay to even see where it got past him. He dove a little early, perhaps... I don't know. Jarome Iginla is a pretty badass hockey player.
Again, the effort was not lacking. The Jackets had chances. The problem is... well, a top-five payroll like this should be finishing these chances. Four power plays in the second, with nothing to show for it? Inexcusable.
Now, sitting at 9-22-5... where do the Jackets go from here?
Some fingers point to the suspension of James Wisniewski -- and thus, his absence in the first eight games of the season -- as the beginning of this season's debacle. Some others might point to injuries -- which is supposed to not be an excuse, but the impact of man-games lost to injury probably can't be ignored. Still others point to Mason, which a lot of people can certainly agree on... at times.
People have been calling for Arniel's head for weeks. It took me awhile, but I've certainly been leaning in that direction of late. I mean, a guy telling the media after last Thursday's 6-5 debacle to Nashville that his team is mentally "gone" does not inspire confidence.
Saying practice the next day was canceled? Uh, no. Not cool. I'm all for mental breaks, but the three-day break obviously didn't yield anything positive. There are still 82 games in a season, kids.
So does the team start firing people? Trading people? What will get this team going again?
Or at least get them to ten wins?
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