|Colton Gillies. Smiling.|
|Derrick Brassard. Smiling.|
|Today's maestro, Todd Richards.|
Having a good time.
|Vinny Prospal and R.J. Umberger.|
Tired, but smiling.
|The closing drill saw the blue-shirts win,|
which led to a huge team celebration....
|...and the losing white team did sprints. Tired, sure...but no complaining and no slacking.|
We fans are pounded with a perception of Columbus as a place where players don't want to play. The Jeff Carter scuttlebutt about not wanting to be with the Blue Jackets is all over. Rumors came out today suggesting that a trade with Los Angeles was scuttled because the LA player made it clear that they didn't want to be in Columbus. Sure, those are rumors - but they shape perceptions...and that negative perception doesn't help the Blue Jackets right their sinking ship one bit.
At the same time, today's practice was demonstrable proof to me that the team is making a conscious effort to fix the things they can control, starting with changing the culture in the locker room and on the ice. Wins and lossess will ultimately determine perceptions of a team, but today's experience, at least to me, showed that the team has figured out how to make it actually fun to come to work...and that's a huge start in the right direction. Now, they have to get that message out the NHL, its players and our potential free agents and trade targets: "You'll like playing in Columbus."
Color me impressed.