It's safe to the say the Columbus Blue Jackets won't be a factor in the Western Conference playoff race this season.
They are 3-13-1 and frozen in a state of organizational paralysis. There is no digging out of such a hole in this conference.
Otherwise, just six points separate the teams standing fourth to 14th on this side of the NHL. Former Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock confronted that competitive balance after replacing Davis Payne as head coach of the St. Louis Blues.
“Even though we’ve gone 3-0-1 in the last four hockey games, we haven’t made up much ground,” Hitchcock said. “We have to deal with that reality. It’s going to be this compacted.
“What’s really surprised and thrown a wrench into it is some unsung teams have really had great starts and look like they are not going way. It has thrown 14 teams in the pack instead of 11 or 12. It’s going to make it even more difficult.”