Posted November 16, 2011 on AP on Fox
At the start of the month, the Columbus Blue Jackets were among the worst teams in the NHL and had Ken Hitchcock along for the ride. He had coached the Blue Jackets before, was still with the organization as a consultant and his name swirled in rumors that he'd take over for embattled coach Scott Arniel. When the Blue Jackets decided not to make a change, the St. Louis Blues pounced and hired Hitchcock to help resuscitate their stumbling franchise. Based on early returns, score this move a win for the Blues - and another miscalculation by Columbus. Hitchcock is 3-0-1 with the Blues - a point total in four games that matches Columbus' season mark in 17 games (3-13-1). Hitchcock, who won a Stanley Cup with Dallas, has revived the Blues' hopes of a playoff run, leading them from 14th place in the Western Conference to the middle of the pack. But maybe even Hitchcock couldn't fix the NHL-worst Blue Jackets, the only team that has yet to reach double digits in points. While last year's Stanley Cup finalists - Boston and Vancouver - are off to slow starts, no team can already count on another postseason spent at home like Columbus. ''We know we have a good team, but for whatever reason we haven't been able to get anything going,'' winger Derek Dorsett said. Team captain Rick Nash had high expectations, thoughts of a postseason run seemed reachable, entering the season. Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson made a string of bold moves, acquiring 30-goal scorer Jeff Carter from Philadelphia, puck-moving defenseman James Wisniewski, sniper Vinny Prospal and steady blue-liner Radek Martinek. Carter, however, just returned after missing most of the season with a broken foot and has yet to score a goal. Wisniewski was suspended for the first eight games of the season for a hit to the head of Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck. Forward Jared Boll missed the first 14 games with a broken thumb. Nash, the go-to scorer and face of the franchise, has just four goals this season. It's just not working in Columbus and Arniel remains on the hot seat. ''We've hit a lot of bottoms this year,'' Arniel said. The Blues couldn't let a chance at jostling into the playoff picture over the winter months slip away, so they fired Davis Payne in the final year of his contract after a lackluster 6-7 start. The Blues have missed the playoffs five times in the last six seasons. Enter Hitchcock - and a dash of bravado that has sparked St. Louis. ''My strength is building teams,'' Hitchcock said when he was hired. He's building again in St. Louis. The Blues have scored a power-play goal in three of his four games after totaling just three power-play goals in the first 13 games. The Blue Jackets are counting on Hitchcock to work his magic again by turning a Blues team that added veteran Stanley Cup winners such as Jason Arnott, Kent Huskins and Jamie Langenbrunner in the offseason into a Western Conference playoff team. But a look around the league entering Wednesday's games shows there are a plenty of teams that hope a slow start won't cost them in the long run. -VANCOUVER: Last season's Western Conference champions were expected to pick up where they left off. They ruled the regular season with 117 points and seemed to set to contend for the Stanley Cup this year. Not so fast. The Canucks stumbled early, blamed, perhaps on a bit of a crushing hangover from the finals loss to Boston. Goalie Roberto Luongo is off to a mediocre start, and he needs to return to form to make Vancouver complete. The Canucks are 9-8-1 and appear to be turning a corner - and perhaps headed back to the top of the standings. -BOSTON: The class of the NHL a year ago, the Bruins appeared stuck in preseason mode when the season started. They spent the early part of the season mired in the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Look who got their game going. The Bruins (9-7) have won six straight and are one of only two teams in the league without an overtime loss. ''There were a lot of distractions at the start of the year. Maybe we weren't really focused on doing the job of being the Stanley Cup champions,'' Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. ''Now we realize how hard we have to battle every night.'' -CALGARY: Coach Brent Sutter is looking at a third straight year behind the bench without a postseason berth. The Flames are 7-9-1 and only Anaheim and Columbus are worse in the Western Conference. The scoring has dipped and frustration has grown. The Flames need to get hot soon if they want play in April. --- Dan Gelston can be reached at dgelston(at) or follow him at

Castoffs become mainstays with Jackets

INSIDE SHOTSCastoffs become mainstays with Jackets This is the present state of the Blue Jackets: Defenseman Nikita Nikitin and center Mark Letestu, bit players on their previous teams, join Columbus in trades and end up playing heavy minutes in prime roles.Nikitin, acquired from St. Louis late last week in the trade that sent defenseman Kris Russell to St. Louis, has played just...

FOX Sports Ohios Season of Support Is Underway

As Ohios leading regional sports network, FOX Sports Ohio is proud to give back to the community this holiday season. Its charitable effort, FOX SupPORTS Ohio, has launched Season of Support, a program in which serves the underprivileged in the Cleveland and Columbus communities through raising awareness, fundraising, and volunteering.Awareness and Fundraising Campaign for Columbus...

Pressure On Nash In Columbus

from Dan Rosen of, He is the face of a struggling franchise that has become the butt of several poor-taste yet arguably just jokes. He is the captain and the guy that is in the second of an eight-year contract that pays him $62.4 million. He is the leader of a franchise that has never won a playoff game and has gone 3-13-1 to start the season. “When you win, everyone looks...

'Breaking Dawn' Vampires Might Have Better Chance at Beating Bruins Than Columbus Blue Jackets

On paper, this one shouldn't be close. The Bruins are red-hot and have won six games in a row. The Columbus Blue Jackets, on the other hand, are languishing in last place of the NHL and only sport seven points on the year. NESN Nation's Dan Duquette understands that there's a certain movie about vampires or something that is making its debut on the silver screen at midnight...

Nash Not Moving

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, Although the Columbus Blue Jackets continue to work the phones looking for a netminder, one name that is not involved in their talks is that of captain Rick Nash. “Not once have I ever brought up his name,” Jackets GM Scott Howson told Thursday. Sure, other teams have obviously inquired about Nash, but Howson has quickly closed that down...

Bruins 2, Blue Jackets 1, SO

Tuukka Rask made 30 saves through overtime and then stopped Columbus' Antoine Vermette in the shootout as the Boston Bruins beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 on Thursday night for their seventh straight win. Rich Peverley and David Krejci scored to put Boston ahead 2-1 in the shootout, and Rask ended it by stoning Vermette. Adam McQuaid scored his first goal of the season for the defending...

Sanford & Son

I remember looking at the Blue Jacket depth chart Tuesday to see who was going to start in place of ECHL Goalie Steve Mason.  Turns out it was career journeyman/terrible goalie/anarchist Curtis Sanford.  Here’s the blurb from the game recap:  “Sanford gave Columbus arguably its best goaltending performance of the season by making 26 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the...

Blue Jackets waste early lead in loss to Wild

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Cal Clutterbuck scored in the third period and the Minnesota Wild rallied for a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. Matt Cullen scored on the power play for his team-leading eighth goal, and Nick Johnson and Devin Setoguchi also scored for Minnesota, which closed out a five-game trip with a 3-2-0 record. Niklas Backstrom stopped a season...

Blue Jackets still hope for move to East

Since the Blue Jackets joined the NHL more than a decade ago, they have dreamed of scenarios in which they could...

Bruins defeat Blue Jackets

Bruins defeat Blue Jackets

NHL roundup: Wild surge past Blue Jackets

Wild surge past Blue Jackets

What channel is the game on tonight for Time Warner?

I am showing the Blue Jackets game on the standard and HD channels for TW @ 7:00. UC is also supposed to play on FSN at the same time. Does anyone know if there are alternate channels that game will be televised on? I can't find any.

Live updates: Blue Jackets vs. Bruins

Pregame Welcome to TD Garden where the Bruins (9-7-0) will attempt to wrap up this five-game homestand by extending their winning streak to seven games in tonight's contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets (3-13-1). Tuukka Rask (2-3-0, 2.62 GAA) will...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.