Earlier this morning Aaron Portzline (who covers the Blue Jackets for the Columbus Dispatch) dropped this no-beating-around-the-bush style tweet on us:
#CBJ have fired coach Scott Arniel.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 9, 2012
Not that there’s any misinterpreting that, but it has been confirmed by other sources since.
Arniel becomes the seventh NHL coach to lose his job so far this season, and it’s only January.
That Arniel was let go is not nearly as surprising as the fact that he kept that job until now. Sure, his team was plagued by injury throughout the season (and they just lost Jeff Carter to a separated shoulder), but man, other teams (think Pittsburgh) who’ve dealt with similar issues haven’t fallen off their expected paces nearly as much.
The final straw came yesterday when the Anaheim Ducks pummelized them 7-4, but this news could’ve come after a 10-0 win and nobody would’ve flinched.
They didn’t win a game this year until their 9th attempt. They’re dead last in the NHL with 27 points, less than half as many as the Western Conference leading Vancouver Canucks. They’re 2-7-1 in their last 10, and find themselves 20 points out of the 8th.
Playoffs are out of the question with half the season to go during a season in which the Blue Jackets were supposed to be better. They made big off-season moves in acquiring James Wisniewski and Jeff Carter, yet somehow improved zero percent.
This was a long-time coming. Todd Richards will take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. With the team and injuries he’s inheriting, I think Dave Hodge said it best:
Randy Cunneyworth just phoned Todd Richards to say “Bonne chance”.
— Dave Hodge – TSN (@TSNDaveHodge) January 9, 2012