By Mike Olson
The National Hockey League is in full slate and three weeks into the season there are two teams that experts picked to make the playoffs (and of course yours truly picked one to win the cup) that find themselves in the cellar of the standings. These two teams are the Columbus Blue Jackets (CBJ) and the Anaheim Ducks; let’s try and figure out what’s going on and if they can get back on track.
The Blue Jackets were a team that I thought would be great in the 2015-2016 season and make a deep run in the playoffs. This team has the winningest goalie in franchise history, (Sergei Bobrovsky) and a lot of depth with young talent. It was a huge surprise when they got off to their worst start in franchise history, starting the season losing eight games in a row. As a result the team fired Head Coach Todd Richards and hired John Tortorella. Currently the team is last in the NHL with a record of 2-8 (four points), however, they have won two games in a row and go for win number three against the Washington Capitals which will be a tall task. The team many picked to make the postseason in the Eastern Conference has put up only 22 goals while letting in an astounding 41. The team needs its key players Scott Hartnell, Ryan Johansen, and Boone Jenner to step it up and carry the team. I believe that this “slow start” will soon end, they will get back on track and make the playoffs. Because with their roster they have the potential to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and maybe the coaching change in Columbus was all they needed to wake up the winning ways.
As you may remember, I went out on a limb earlier this year and picked the Ducks to win the Stanley Cup. As of right now….it’s not looking good for the team. They have posted a record of 1-7-2 (4 points) and find themselves 29th overall, a start that is one of their worst. They have only managed to score 10 goals while giving up 26. And the struggles start from the top of the roster. Would you believe me if I told you that 10 games into the season that Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, and Ryan Getzlaf (who recently had his appendix taken out) have yet to light the lamp? It’s hard to believe none of them have scored a goal, especially given that the trio scored a combined 78 goals last season. It seems like Bruce Boudreau has his work cut out for him and should be on the hot seat if they can’t turn it around. A year after taking the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blackhawls deep into the Western Conference Finals, the expectations for this season’s Anaheim team were high, and they are far from meeting those expectations. However, I’m still sticking by my pick and believe the Ducks will figure things out and will win the cup.