|J.D. threw down the gauntlet to his team in October.|
Look, I'm realistic about this team. I'm not convinced that the Blue Jackets will end the season in the Central Division cellar. I'm equally not convinced that the Blue Jackets are a playoff team (although the unpredictable nature of a six-day training camp and a condensed, 48-game season make it more likely). I believe that both abject failure and exhilarating success are largely due to factors far beyond the Blue Jackets' control.
The "compete level" - the amount of effort expended in a game - is well within the team's control, however. If a team works hard, they are more likely to win games. They won't automatically win because they play harder than the other team, but I'd suggest that they probably are more likely to lose because they don't play as hard. I think the tail-end of the Hitchcock and Arniel eras in Columbus can serve as reference points for us. The team gave up, and they lost... waytoo many times.
In my opinion, that question, "Did the CBJ get outworked?" - that will determine whether this team is competitive in 2013. On paper, this team is not elite. Effort, however, can be the great equalizer. A hard-working team of lesser skill will have a much better chance against a lackadaisical group of All-Stars. So that's where I'm focusing my attention this season.
How do you tell if a team got outworked? Effort, in my opinion, is totally subjective. It's like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said of obscenity: "I know it when I see it." I know effort when I see it. And, more importantly, I know it when I don't see it.
This season, I'm going to do two things on the blog. First, I'm going to ask and answer the question, "Did the CBJ get outworked?" in every game recap I offer and encourage my writing compadres to do the same. Second, I've set up (yet) another, complementary blog, Were the Columbus Blue Jackets outworked last night?, to catalog my/our answers to this question. In both instances, the answer is short and sweet: YES or NO.
This is not a punitive gesture, for I take Davidson at his word. I hope to report that, regardless of the team's record, the Blue Jackets were never outworked this season. But I will not as a fan blogger stand by idly and let the country club attitude take over when this team's fanbase so badly wants a turnaround.
Bring it, Blue Jackets: Every shift, every game, every night all season long. Outwork your opponents, and you'll get your share of wins. I look forward to chronicling it.