Is the hammer ready to fall in Columbus? Is Ken Hitchcock ready to make his Blue Jackets coaching return, in place of the overmatched Scott Arniel?
Is Nashville assistant GM Paul Fenton ready to replace Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson?
The Blue Jackets are in the midst of a 5-22-8 slide, dating back to last season. Hitchcock is still cashing checks from the franchise from his earlier coaching stint.
He has been seen consulting with team president Mike Priest and owner John P. McConnell. The Blue Jackets may get No. 1 center Jeff Carter (cracked foot) back soon and the team may see that as a potential turning point.
Arniel realizes he is on thin ice.
“It makes for some sleepless nights,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “It drains on you. You don’t ever want to be in this position. But I’ve been in this game (long enough to expect it). You have to find solutions. You just have to stay with it. You just can’t roll over and play dead. You just find a way to get up each day and meet the challenge and find solutions.”
The players realize the stakes as well.
“Coaches don’t have much security,” forward R.J. Umberger told the Dispatch. “As players, any time there is a coaching change, for the most part you feel like you failed that person. You don’t want to drive a coach out or anything like that, and that’s not what’s going on here. But we just have to win games. That’s the bottom line.”