Yes, they are currently playing like a team that might get swept right now.. But, that doesn't mean that's how it will go. So, I guess the "playoffs don't matter now"?
This is an 82 game hockey season that has good, bad, in-between moments. We had some key defensive injuries- David Savard, Nutivaara out for a couple weeks. Bob had kind of regressed to league average in terms of his stats, where he was playing as a Vezina candidate for the first 3.5 months of the year. Our powerplay had regressed in that time as well. Plus, we are trying to figure out if Korpi can regain his hot streak last year and be a NHL backup.
I'm not saying this team is as good as the 16 game win streak.. I think we played above our heads. I don't think this is a Stanley Cup winning team yet either. But, I don't necessarily think this stretch defines this team. In an 82 game NHL season, you will have periods of streaky players, injuries, etc.
I honestly think this team can get back to playing better. As a season ticket holder the last couple of years, I would like to see the playoffs return to Nationwide Arena and Columbus. And, I think we have a team that *could* make noise there. If Sergei Bobrovsky can find his level of play again, watch out.
I know this stretch is a bit frustrating, but this stretch might not define this team.
Season's not over, Go Jackets!