We all have our Columbus Blue Jackets jokes at the ready, as they are reliably near the bottom of the of the NHL totem Pole. It’s a way to fit in, being able to take a jab at the Blue Jackets, because everyone can and does do it. You might be inclined to do that this year, before you look at the standings.
The reason you might be inclined to do this is because of name recognition. Think about it. Name two skaters on the team. Sure, I bet a lot of people can think of Sergei Bobrovsky, but can you pick out many people beyond that? No? There are some familiar names, like Sam Gagner, but he’s not really a “star” is he? That can be said about the entire team, really.
I mentioned earlier this week that John Tortorella was looking to save his players during the more grueling stretches of the year by giving them mornings off on game days. Being able to play 4 lines, which the Blue Jackets have done, is another way to do it. The Columbus Dispatch noted that Nick Foligno, at just over 17 minutes a game, leads the team in ice time. That’s very low.
So the Blue Jackets are winning because they are fresher, but on the other side of it, Tortorella wouldn’t feel comfortable rolling 12 different forwards if they weren’t executing as well. Columbus is winning thanks to good goaltending, certainly, but also because all four lines are holding their own.