Just before the last Blue Jackets home game, I met some friends at a nearby restaurant. With about 15 minutes to game time, a guy sat down next to me at the bar.

Just before the last Blue Jackets home game, I met some friends at a nearby restaurant. With about 15 minutes to game time, a guy sat down next to me at the bar.

He asked the bartender to turn on the Jackets game. "I might as well get a good meal and watch the first period to see whether I should bother going."

He was a season ticket holder.

This isn't supposed to happen. Well, maybe in February … but not this early. Not this season. But with the Jackets off to a dismal, franchise-worst 2-11-1 start, who can blame him?

So what has gone wrong? Or rather, what has gone right?

Good on paper

This early season swoon has stung so much because of offseason moves that seemed to patch a couple of the Jackets' biggest holes - and pushed them to one of the highest payrolls in hockey.

So have the big acquisitions of center Jeff Carter and defenseman James Wisniewski not panned out? Well, the team put together over the summer hasn't really been on the ice yet.

Wisniewski was slapped with an eight-game suspension for a pre-season hit. And before he could return, Carter went down with a foot fracture.

With reports that Carter may be ready for Thursday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the two might finally play their first official game together as Blue Jackets.

They return to a team that is eight points out of 14th place in the Western Conference. In early November.

Bad on ice

Silver linings have been hard to come by in Jacketsland.

The team looked like it had some actual depth going into the year. Sluggish starts from secondary scorers like R.J. Umberger, Derick Brassard and Antoine Vermette have hurt on that front.

The boosted offense was supposed to take some pressure off of goalie Steve Mason. He's again saddled with a team playing poor defense in front of him and has been prone to some soft goals. He was, however, stellar in the Blue Jackets wins. Both of them.

The glimmer of hope is rookie Ryan Johansen, who's starting to show confidence that could blossom into stardom.

Jobs clearly hang in the balance. As I write this, everyone still has theirs.

Remember, Jackets fans, last year's New Jersey Devils roared back from a 9-22-2 start to … barely miss the playoffs.

Sounds like something the Jackets would do, doesn't it?