Columbus Blue Jackets already cut adrift in the Eastern Conference, with 12 points when everyone else has at least 17, 19 games into the season. This was after they were cut adrift last season, finishing bottom of the East and tied for second-worst in the NHL. It was supposed to be better, because the Jackets took that team and added Adam Fanitilli, one of the most prized prospects to come into the league in some time. Head coach Pascal Vincent has definitely picked his targets on who is to blame. Vincent backed that up by sitting Laine’s ass in the pressbox the next game, making him a healthy scratch. But here’s the thing: Any coach or front office that thinks Patrik Laine was an answer to any important question has already lost. Laine has always floated around the outside of the offensive zone waiting for someone to hit him with a cross-seam pass so he could score. But there’s none of that in Columbus, especially since the one guy they had who might have thought about it, Pierre-Luc Dubois, was traded for Laine. The Jackets signed Gaudreau in the summer of 2022, but Gaudreau hasn’t been any better than Laine. This was a guy who put up 115 points in his last season with the Flames. Jarmo Kekalainen has created a world where there isn’t enough of anything on this roster, and there hasn’t been. And depending on Laine to provide answers, when his whole game has been based on ducking that and taking shortcuts, is exactly how you end up in the toilet that the Jackets can’t escape.