Monday, October 31, 2011

The emperor has some sweet threads

Courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio, here are some post-game comments from Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel, captain Rick Nash and goalie Steve Mason.  Pay close attention starting at about the 1:25 mark:

<a href='' target='_new' title='Jackets after win'>Video: Jackets after win</a>

Nash said it: The players appear to have thrown it all out on the ice for their embattled coach and general manager in the past two home games.  In many ways, the emotion (at least as perceived from the fan side) for the Anaheim game was similar to the win against Detroit: A) Heavy external stimulus hits the locker room - for Detroit, it was J.P. Mac's pregame locker room speech and general manager Scott Howson's "Bill Walsh" blog post; for Anaheim, it was the Dispatch blog post about a potential replacement of Howson and Arniel with Craig Button and Ken Hitchcock; B) Players rally and go kick some butt out on the ice, handily winning the game in the process.

So what happens when the stimulus is gone?  What will motivate these players to play like they just were inspired by their organizational leadership or scared stiff at the thought of change in hockey operations?

My friends, I think that's the crux of the matter.

There's some talent on this Columbus Blue Jackets team, but what's it
going to take to keep their heads in the game night in and night out?
In winning the two games in the manner that they did, the Columbus Blue Jackets have exposed themselves to be a reasonably talented team.  This is anything but a situation where the emperor has no clothes.  There's some talent on this squad.

Sure, their bottom pair of blue liners is abysmal (and their second pair won't contend for a Tim Horton's All-Star Game any time soon), but the roster is talented enough to cover over those holes.  Detroit may not be the Red Army Wings any longer, and Anaheim may not be a top tier Cup contender, but neither of the teams was a slouch.

Think about it.  The CBJ pretty much owned both games, even with their injury-depleted roster, right?  (But that removes yet another excuse from the table, though, doesn't it?)

So can coaching pick up when this wave of externalities will eventually subside and pilot this pool of talent to enough victories to stay competitive and perhaps (just maybe?) angle into playoff contention?  And if the coaching capacity to motivate is indeed there, where in the world has it been for the first ten percent of this season?

Your answers are as good as mine right now.  Now please pardon me while I ponder what might have been.

1 comment:

  1. I don't often post comments on blog articles, but I felt the need to sound off on this one. Bravo, DBJ, because this is exactly the thing that has been bothering me since the shine of the Red Wings game wore off. Why can't this team reach their "compete level" (how many times have we heard that this year?) on a nightly basis. They're professionals, they should be self motivated to bring it every shift. The ironic part of it is, by responding to the external stimulus and showing that this team HAS talent, they've backhandedly proven that there does need to be a leadership shake-up either in the room or behind the bench. This players need a kick in the butt to get it going, and they're not getting it enough at present.


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