State of the Union Blue
Rick Gethin offers the needed cold shower for the Jackets in suggesting that it'll take a 24-13-4 record to get to 90 points and playoff qualification. Scott Howson said on XM Radio the other day that he thinks it'll take 94-95 points this year, pushing the bar even higher yet. Still, the point is made - for a team that's gone 3-12-6 in the last 21, that's a mighty mountain to climb.
Gethin then dives deep into two key issues. The first is that of leadership, where he suggests, "One of the biggest factors that I believe have led to this slide has been the lack of a veteran voice on this team. While you would think that Mike Commodore and Fredrik Modin could fill this vital position, neither one has done so." He touches on the trade for Chris Clark, something that offers all Jackets fans some hope to straighten out the locker room. I just hope that the Clark addition isn't too little, too late.
It's All About Desire". He suggests that if injuries don't force this type of roster shakeup, then the Jackets need to start (continue?) tweaking the roster to get the most competitive players on the ice. No argument here.
Considering the issue is on the tips of the tongues of most diehard CBJ fans, I'm a bit surprised that Gethin didn't touch on Ken Hitchcock's job security directly as he did in the excellent "Where Has The Competitive Fire Gone?". Matters not, I suppose...the Jackets management loves the man.
II. The Columbus Dispatch - Analysis: 'Disappointing' Blue Jackets have plenty of issues
- Sophomore slumps - As a group, Mason, Brassard and Voracek haven't performed close to expectations.
- Hitchcock's tenure - "In most any other city, Hitchcock would likely have been fired by now." Powerful words from the biggest CBJ news outlet around. Do you think that's being read on Nationwide Boulevard? (Go ahead, nod in agreement...)
- A high boiling point - You wonder if the losing really DOES hurt the players. Clearly, it's tearing Hitchcock to pieces,.)
- Righting the room - Leadership, leadership, leadership. Nash might wear the "C", but clearly the team needs more than he can offer in the locker room.
My nit-picking aside, both are must-reads. Who would've guessed that Michael Peca would be the most popular ex-Blue Jacket of the 2009-2010 season? (My $.02 on Peca is in Thought No. 8.)