|Oh, God. This again.|
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.
- 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.
- 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.