Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Hangover, Part 2

Oh, God.  This again.
I'll admit it.  I took the easy way out yesterday.  But I didn't know what else to write.  I mean, why summarize a game that was a car wreck within the first two minutes of play?

So let's start with an admission: I didn't see the first period.  I was stuck driving around Columbus.  I did, however, have the game on XM - but I had the volume turned off so I could talk to the rest of the DBJ family.  But the XM screen was on, and the score was 2-0 by about 7:17PM.  I vividly recall saying to Mrs. DBJ, "I can't believe this.  The game doesn't START at 7PM.  They're singing the National Anthem at 7PM. And 2-0?  By quarter after 7?"

It was that type of night.  But that was last night, and this is a new morning.

If you haven't noticed, I haven't directly called for the firings of anyone, nor have I called for the moving of any players.  There was a reason for that.  The Columbus Blue Jackets finally had a strategic plan, one commissioned by ownership and delineated by the staff.  Everyone signed off on it.  So I have given the team the benefit of a doubt.

A strategic plan, however, is not a disaster plan.  And this season, to this point, qualifies as a disaster.
  • The disaster, however, isn't just the team's record (although the record is indeed a factor), the many injuries or the Wiz suspension.  
  • The disaster lies in the fact that highly compensated, secure players are playing like mid-level AHLers.  
  • The disaster lies in a team apparently unsuited to play the type of hockey that the strategic plan hopefully called for.  
  • The disaster lies in the fact the promising young players were shuffled off to Springfield and back-filled with minor league journeymen (and I note that it took a minor league journeyman, Cody Bass, to have the cajones to call out his team on the ice last night).  
  • The disaster lies is the absence of anything approaching a discernible defensive scheme.
  • The disaster lies in a paper-thin depth chart, or a coaching staff unwilling to use the depth that it has at its disposal.  
  • The disaster lies in the fact that these players appear to have stopped fighting.
  • The disaster lies in a season that was functionally lost before Halloween.
This disaster revealed so many cracks in the Blue Jackets' organizational armor that it's nearly impossible to know where to start fixing them.  That being the case, there is a compelling argument to be made for doing one of two things:
  1. Clean house now - management at minimum, perhaps coaches too - and let the new leadership use the rest of the season to assess what needs to be done and - gulp - develop a new plan/philosophy with the power to make whatever changes need to be made to implement it.
  2. Free up current the management and coaching staff from the "win now" mantra, tell them to stop grab-bagging and give them the latitude to shuffle the roster and play the players that would facilitate a rebound in 2012-13 that resembles what we've seen thus far from the likes of the Edmonton Oilers or the Colorado Avalanche this season.
In both instances, ownership - not management - needs to step up to the challenge at hand.  They need to address the community that soon will have a vested interest in the team's success.  They need to address the season ticket holders, especially the ones that have stuck with this franchise since the beginning.  They need to address the team - roster and staff - and tell them that expectations haven't dropped, but instead have increased.  

The Columbus Blue Jackets may not win this season, but they can win.  It's time to get this team on the right course.  NOW.

5 comments:

  1. I completely agree, if Columbus is to keep the Blue Jackets they really need to show they're serious.

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  2. The Jackets ownership will do only what it has to in order to get the casino money. But even if they get the $10 million a year for the next 26 years (yep, a cool $ 1/4 billion with a B), whats to say the Jackets will be a better team? This management group has committed almost $50 million a year for next several years. They are stuck, who wants these guys with these fat contracts?

    Bad, mucho bad situation that cannot get better.

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  3. Well said. I am just sad that so many things have been a disaster for a team. I'll stick by the Jackets hell or high water, as I'm thankful Columbus has a hockey team (even if it can't be managed appropriately). My biggest concern is losing the team in Columbus, not the team losing in Columbus... :(

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