Sports notes: Major issues going against the Blue Jackets

Thanks to 97.1 The Fan and the Columbus Blue Jackets, I was able to attend Thursday’s game against Nashville and Saturday’s game against Boston.

To be kind, the Jackets have been a major disappointment. Teams with the sixth-highest payroll in the NHL shouldn’t have one of the worst records.

I’m concerned about the team. They have three huge problems, two are fixable but one may take a lot longer.

First, their goal tending situation is far from clear. Steve Mason is a huge problem. He hasn’t been the same since his Calder Trophy winning rookie season. Curtis Stanford has had a hot streak, but he’s shown evidence recently that his performance may not last the entire season.

Secondly, the team needs a killer instinct. The Blue Jackets have repeatedly suffered from giving up last-minute goals. To make the next step, the team needs a killer instinct. They are far from it.

In addition to the above issues, the team is suffering from a major lack of respect from officials. Last night, Derek Dorsett was clearly tripped by Boston goaltender Tim Thomas and was fortunate to avoid serious injury. What defies logic is that Dorsett was called for goaltender interference. You can watch the replay below, where the call was questioned by Boston TV announcers.

What will it take for the Blue Jackets to get respect from NHL officials?

– The Pittsburgh Steelers are often playing down to their opponents this year, as evidenced by Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. But as a Steelers fan, it’s comforting to know that even on a bad night, the Steelers are still double-digits better than the Browns.

– Cleveland fans have been vocal about the hit Steelers linebacker James Harrison made on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. It’s funny how on one hand, Browns fans are concerned about McCoy’s safety, but the team trotted McCoy back in the game right after suffering an apparent concussion. The Cleveland Browns are not immune to player safety issues (remember the staph infection issue from several years ago?). It’s up to the NFL how it should handle Harrison, but the league needs to take a close look at teams who don’t focus on their own player’s safety.

– For as amazing as Houston Texans rookie quarterback T.J. Yates’ two-minute drive which ended in the team’s 20-19 win over the Bengals, it was weird to see his parents stuck in the top several rows of an empty Paul Brown Stadium. Do all teams treat the families of visiting players the same way.

– Speaking of an empty stadium, I’m shocked that the fans have bailed on the Bengals. Although their playoff chances took a major hit Sunday, it’s still a team with a great story and a winning record.

– This year is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Pro Football Hall of Fame featured a story last week about how the NFL responded to the tragedy. You can read it here.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo personally taken during Thursday night’s Blue Jackets game. Video link from YouTube. You can submit sports items for this column to me at viewfromthepugh@yahoo.com).

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Posted on December 12, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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