It's a sad state of affairs in Columbus. The Blue Jackets' season was pretty much over at the All-Star break, and interim coach Todd Richards already was worried about keeping the players engaged and interested.
"What I'm interested in seeing is if we are going to show up," Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards said before Tuesday's game vs. Tampa Bay. "Are we going to play the way we're capable of playing?"
That's a bad sign, with 33 games remaining in the season. The Blue Jackets have been in 30th place in the NHL for all but 11 days since the start of the season.
After Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Lightning, the Jackets are eight points behind 29th-place Edmonton, and they're a whopping 32 points behind fourth-place Chicago in the Central Division.
The Jackets will be a team to watch in February, as they could be active in dumping large contracts or pending unrestricted free agents.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on Sunday that the Blue Jackets plan to trade center Jeff Carter less than a season after they acquired him in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia Flyers.
NOTES, QUOTESBlue Jackets' futility dates to last season
--There are many ways to qualify the ineptitude of the Blue Jackets, but nothing says it quite like this: the Jackets have 11 regulation wins in their last 71 games, including the final 22 games of last season. They have just 10 victories in 49 games so far this season, by far the fewest in the NHL.
--Call them the blacksheep of the Central Division: After Tuesday's loss in Tampa Bay, the Blue Jackets sit at the bottom of the division with 32 points. All four other clubs - Chicago, Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis - have at least twice as many point as Columbus.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "These are character games." -- Blue Jackets interim Coach Todd Richards, imploring his players not to quit on the final 2 12 months of season.
ROSTER REPORTPLAYER NOTES
--D Brett Lebda scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket in his second game with the franchise Tuesday night. Lebda found space on the right side of the zone, carried the puck in through the right circle and scored off his backhand.
--RW Ryan Johansen responded to a healthy scratch in his previous game by scoring his ninth goal of the season Tuesday in Tampa Bay. Johansen will be the Blue Jackets' only representative at All-Star weekend in Ottawa, one of 12 rookies to get invited.
--RW Tomas Kubalik was returned to minor-league Springfield after playing in eight games with the Blue Jackets. He had one goal, one assist and a minus-3 rating.
--D James Wisniewski (broken ankle) is out until February.
--C Jeff Carter (separated shoulder) out indefinitely.
--RW Mark Letestu (broken hand) is out until late February.
--LW Kristian Huselius (lower body) is out until February.
--D Radek Martinek (concussion) is out for the season.
--D Nikita Nikitin (left knee) is out indefinitely.
--D Mark Dekanich (left ankle) is out indefinitely.