Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 2/1/12


NASHVILLE – Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot is tired of losing, just like the rest of his teammates. Methot was drafted by Columbus in 2003 and has yet to really get a taste of winning. This season, with the Blue Jackets comfortably dead-last in the entire NHL, has been especially difficult for the franchise.

“Having your playoff hopes eliminated early isn’t an easy thing to go through as a player, especially when it happens around Christmas and you still have to play from there on out,” Methot said last week. “It’s really tough to play hockey when the games don’t mean as much as they would normally mean.”

The task for interim head coach Todd Richards, who replaced Scott Arniel on Jan. 9, is a difficult one. There hasn’t much positivity in the Blue Jackets’ room this season, and there are still two months left in their tumultuous campaign. Richards is doing his best to keep things upbeat.

“You do try some different things here and there to try to make it fun again. It’s a game,” Richards said. “Where we’re at, there haven’t been a lot of bright moments. There have been a lot of tough days. You might do some things in practice, some things in morning skates, in the locker room to lighten the mood a little bit.”

Methot said of Richards, “He’s trying to be as positive as he can and start teaching over again and get back to the basics. That’s really all we can do right now. He’s done a terrific job keeping us in a good mood and allowing us to enjoy coming to the rink.”

It’s especially tough to remain positive, as Methot mentioned, when games in the second half are meaningless in the standings. Nonetheless, the swap behind the bench from Arniel to Richards was a wake-up call to the Blue Jackets’ room.

“Any time you make a significant change like changing your head coach, it wakes everybody up,” Methot said. “It’s a new voice in the dressing room and (Richards has) really brought a positive attitude to the team. It gave us a little bit of a jolt. We’re playing a lot more responsibly and it’s made a big change in our game.”

The compete level of Richards’ club was elevated for the first handful of games after he took over behind the bench. But that has seemed to have faded away in the last three games, where the Blue Jackets have been out-scored by a combined 14-3 in Nashville, Tampa Bay and San Jose.

Among many factors, injuries have definitely had an effect on the Blue Jackets this season. In the team’s first 50 games, Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski – GM Scott Howson’s prized off-season acquisitions – have played in the same game just 21 times. Other key players have been in and out of the lineup, making it hard for the Blue Jackets to have much consistency.

“Whenever you’re missing those guys, those are tough holes to fill,” Richards said of Carter and Wisniewski. “Obviously it excites you as a coach when you start getting those guys back. … If we can start to add more guys with the skill and finish, hopefully we can start putting more pucks in the net start getting more wins.”

No matter when Carter and Wisniewski return, or if the team starts winning more often, this will go down as a lost season for the Blue Jackets. They are on pace for a paltry 52 points, which would be tied for the lowest total the NHL has seen since the Atlanta Thrashers’ expansion season, when they accumulated 39 points in 1999-2000.

Those pre-season hopes of making a second playoff appearance were history before the calendar even flipped to 2012. But as Methot points out, most players in the room still have a lot to play for.

“We’re trying to stay positive and not get down on ourselves,” he said. “We have to keep that upbeat attitude. Guys are playing for contracts and trying to stay in the league. That’s a lot of incentive right there.”

Photo credit: Getty Images

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Aldon Smith posts video under a psuedonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Rex Ryan: IK Enempkali could fill void left by Mario Williams

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker