Toews and Kane ring a bell to you? 2006 and 2007 entry drafts respectively. In those years the Columbus Blue Jackets finished poorly. Why did Chicago get those guys, while we got Brass and Jake? They out tanked us. Why did the Oilers get all those number one picks! They out tanked everyone.
The Columbus Blue Jackets organization CANNOT afford to waste a 2-10-1 start. Folks, the path to the holy land has been laid down, the path to a number 1 or number 2 pick. We, the fans, did not want it to be this way. Clearly, the ownership did not want it to be this way, they spent big jack ($$!) on a team that has yet to take the ice. The coaches, under a fire storm of criticism, did not want this.
But it may be the best thing that ever happened to the organization, if we are willing to look at the long term for once in our hockey lives. The CBJ have laid down a start so brutal that it will be very difficult for other teams to lose down to our level. We need to stay the course. After the jump I will lay down the steps that it is imperative for the organization to follow. This WILL be painful fans. But look at the Oilers today. Number one picks make a difference.
Do you think the drafting of Rick Nash has had an impact on our organization? Of course it did! What if I told you that drafting another Rick Nash was possible, if we just grit our teeth, and carry on?? How would you feel about this? Well you tell us?? Ha, ha, ha. Sometimes I crack me up! The point is that organizational stability is a desirable end point. But the immediate path to organizational stability is rocky, steep and painful for the fans, coaches, players, and owners, but with a little grit and fortitude we can get there. Because at the top of the hill is a prize, a number one draft pick (well, a number 2 draft pick because we will certainly lose the lottery).
So the steps to follow? Its pretty simple. Stay the course. We need to do the following:
1.) Don't panic about Mase. Each time he has one of these disastrous games, it is a loss that some other team has to make up if they want to steal our number one pick. On the other hand, he may yet turn into Marty Brodeur (the younger, awesome version). He had a great outing against the Ducks. He did not against the Leafs. We have to start treating those losses as pearls, instead of the gut wrenching, painful experience they are now. It's all in your head! (If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you) The trick is to think about our number one pick. Its ours now. So we need to let Mase play his way out of this.
2.) LET THE FOOT HEAL!!!!!! I cannot over emphasize this. Jeff Carter is under contract for 11 years. Rushing him back will not help if we lose him a year from now with chronic foot injury. It takes a bone 6 weeks to heal. Give it the 6 weeks. Will we lose games because of this course? Obviously. But if we ever want to emerge from this heck (you're welcome Granny), we need to make sure Carter is available for the long term.
3.) Don't fire the coach. We've tried that many times in our history, and it never worked. It certainly won't in the short term. Was it dumb to fire Hitch?? Of course. Is Arniel doing any better than Hitch? NO! Is he doing any worse than Hitch (after the playoff year)? Well, don't answer that. Is bringing Hitch back the answer? As much as I respect Hitch, the answer to this is no.
4.) Let Mark Dekanich's ankle heal. Don't rush him back because of Mase's struggles. When plans A, B, and C don't work, go with plan D. And think about the number one pick. Dex may be the long term goal tender. A high ankle sprain is a nasty injury and it needs rest to heal. Make sure Dex gets the time he needs. He may well be the long term answer in goal, we don't know yet. But each beautiful, lustrous, loss gets us closer to our number one pick. So be patient here.
5.) Just think what blueliner might emerge over this year as a consensus number one pick. Drool. Wiz and Toots are doing okay. Our 3-4 pairing is a mess right now. This stuff will come together with time.
It's time to focus on the end goal. The Cup. We won't get there by panicking at this juncture. In spite of all of our best efforts, this has blown up in our faces. It's time to make lemonade folks, and start focusing on "our number one pick". One of the best ways to get to the end goal is to have a stable organization. In order to have a stable organization, we need to be able to weather disaster. Our prize for fortitude is "our number one pick".
The good ship CBJ has capsized in heavy seas. This is no time to start swimming for shore. There are sharks out there. We need to right the ship, pump it out, and start rowing towards the goal. We'll pick up "our number one pick" on the way, and keep working the oars in the direction of the promised land.