Blue Jackets New Year's resolutions
Stop me if you've heard this one before.
The young Blue Jackets scrap their way to a franchise-best start. Then they spiral into a free-fall that has the season in jeopardy by Christmas.
Yes, this season is an eerie mirror of the disastrous 2009-10 campaign.
The roster is largely unchanged from last year, and though there's a new coach behind the bench in Scott Arniel, a lot of last season's bad habits have remained.
Well, it's the perfect season to rid yourself of bad habits. Here are some resolutions for the Jackets for 2011.
Show up for work on time
Nothing - and I mean nothing - is more frustrating as a Jackets fan than a game where the team gives up a weak early goal and never gets back in the game.
The team is 5-13-3 when they give up the first goal, and those games are no fun to watch, either. Start playing when the puck drops. Stop when you hear the horn.
Expand your vocabulary
Here's a term the Jackets need to learn: "power play." It's when your team has one more player on the ice due to a penalty. And it's supposed to be an advantage.
The Jackets PP is one of the worst in hockey. Let's get better.
Several key young Jackets have the potential to be stars, but they seem to keep putting off taking the next step in their game. Steve Mason, Derick Brassard and Jake Voracek need to step up now, not later.
Lose some weight
Jackets GM Scott Howson has a poker face not even Lady Gaga could read, but at some point you have to pull the trigger on a trade to shake up this roster.
Don't gut the core, but move a blueliner or two - and don't be so protective of draft picks.
Get a new perspective
For example, maybe ask somebody, "What does this new mascot look like to you?"
Ah, Boomer, we barely knew ye.
For all of the team's inconsistency and the lopsided losses, this is still the best start in franchise history. Sometimes the Jackets look like the worst team in the league, but sometimes they look like they can play with anybody.
Let's see more of the latter. I still see a playoff team.
Blue Jackets vs. Ottawa Senators
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
200 W. Nationwide Blvd., Arena District