Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Always feeling this happy

Some of the things that set this blog apart from its contemporaries is our ability to have open and honest conversation about the Columbus Blue Jackets.   We love the team as much as everybody else, but have a different set of expectations.  The last 12 years have been exceedingly frustrating for me as a Columbus Blue Jackets fan.  I looked around the league and saw the things that successful franchises were doing and, to me, it never seemed like the Blue Jackets were interested in doing those things – until this season.




Hi, I'm the Blue Jackets, can we come in?

The arrival of John Davidson is a good thing for the Blue Jackets.  I have said before and will continue to say, that it will take at least two full seasons to really see the effects of a John Davidson hiring as President of Hockey Ops.  I will get to the feel good story of this year in a bit, but there are some other things that I want to point out that make me feel so much better about having John Davidson on the team.  Columbus will always have to pay a premium (over pay) for top level talent.  What Columbus should never have done is pay a premium for role players and character guys.   It was a trap the last regime fell into, not out of ignorance, but perhaps out of helplessness.  But the Letestu and Calvert signing have shown me that JD and Jarmo are realistic in their approach to signing players that are special to this team, without being irrational. 

Are those 15" wide leg pads
 or are you just happy to be in goal?
Another odd intangible that this team’s front office never had was a solid NHL player in the front office.  I’m not saying that you can’t be a GM without ever being an NHL All-Star, but when the team had been as passé as long as they have been, walking the halls of Nationwide Arena and seeing a guy who knows what it takes on the ice goes a long way.  That on its own commands respect from the players and staff.  Hockey guys know hockey guys and while JD certainly proved his worth as an executive in St Louis, the players on the team also know he’s earned his stripes in the league as a player.
 
And then there is the feel good story of this year.  It was status quo for the Blue Jackets back in February.  They were snuggly nestled in 30th place after owning that slot a majority of last season.   But this year was different.  Obvious front office changes aside, the Jackets found themselves with a hot goaltender.   I hate to toot my own horn (cause I hate when other people do it) but at last year’s Cannonfest after picking the team to finish 26th this season, I suggested the biggest thing this team needed was confidence in its goaltender.   Without a doubt, that happened this season.  When you have confidence as a player in your goalie, your outlook as a skater and member of a team improves - even a Pee Wee can relate to that.  Once the team knew it had some skill between the pipes, Todd Richards’ message was much easier to listen to – what he was selling was easier to buy.   Now we have a team that believes in itself and all it took was a little confidence.

Which brings us to the feel good story of this year – April hockey matters in Columbus once again.  The media attention on the team is great and it feels good to get an “Atta boy” after being the well deserved brunt of jokes the past decade or so.  The team is winning games the right way and has shown in the past 10-14 days that it can win even when it’s goal tending isn’t all-world.   What’s not to like about the Jackets?  Vinny is an inspirational leader, Bob is hot, and the team if full of likable guys.   The winning ways of the Jackets has even allowed the existence of Jared Boll to be tolerated on twitter.  And while this feels great right now, I am here to tell you that as a fan, you should expect this from “your” team EVERY SEASON.  What you feel right now, what this team is experiencing, feeling that the Jackets belong in the playoff race is something every level of the organization is obligated to provide every season.  I’ve enjoyed the Blue Jacket's story lines of this season very much.  Bob’s rebirth in Columbus, Vinny's pointing, the fourth line actually delivering something other than fighting majors, the trade deadline, and who doesn’t feel good about the Letestu and Calvert extensions?  The way we feel right now is great.  Whether the Jackets make the playoff this year or not is not necessarily the point.  But the fact that April hockey is once again relevant in Columbus makes this cynic happy.  Having JD and Jarmo in the front office lets me know that should the expectation of being regularly competitive ever slip, they won’t hesitate to make the changes necessary to keep this team competitive for a long time.  And that above anything elese feels good, oh so very good.

10 comments:

  1. This was a good read. Thank you.

    But I disagree on one thing. It is about making the playoffs. And right now. Not next year (although that would be great, too). Now is the time and the time is now!

    That is NHL hockey. Having grown up and watched the Habs win so many cups I can tell you, the playoffs is where it is... And this team can make a go of it now! The fat lady is nowhere to be seen.

    The front office has done an excellent job. I was also talking goalie last year. It's all about the guy in net when it comes to ice hockey. This dude is a wizard. You need that 60 minute insurance policy in order to free up the lines out front.

    I don't want to wait until next year!

    Detroit, fall apart!

    Jackets, heads held high and go get them!

    Joe in Vancouver

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    1. Hey Joe,

      Yes, I agree playoffs should be the goal every year. This is the first time I've felt the Blue Jackets will be in a position to regularly compete for a playoff spot. There is no reason the Blue Jackets can't make the playoffs this season. Thanks to JD and Jarmo, I know the excitement I fesl now won't be fleeting whether they make it this year or not.

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  2. You said..."I hate to toot my own horn (cause I hate when other people do it) but at last year’s Cannonfest after picking the team to finish 26th this season, I suggested the biggest thing this team needed was confidence in its goaltender."

    Seriously...you think you were the only one or even one of a few to make the rationalization that this team needed confidence in its goalie(s)? Wow...you really are stuck on yourself if you believe that.

    The entire CBJ fan base has been begging management to acquire a #1 goalie for the last 3 years. Virtually every comment to an article/post on virtually every website (NHl.com, tsn.ca/NHL, ESPN, Dispatch, pick your blog) you could read about the Blue Jackets some way shape or form referenced our goalie struggles and how Mason has struggled since his rookie year and how the players have lost confidence in him.

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    1. Sarcasm - "a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual" - Merriam-Webster

      In this case, the sarcasm was directed at myself. You are the first commenter to get upset at me making fun of myself. The context of the sarcasm was framed with the 'picking the team 26th' and the tooting aside. Sorry that making fun of myself upset you for all the reasons you succinctly identified.

      The Blue Jackets will win the Stanely Cup this year.

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  3. These are the days to celebrate, not hate!

    The Blue Jackets are the Cinderella team in the western conference this year- and they're finally operating as a team. If they make the playoffs, they have a real shot at pulling some upsets- I've never seen this team compete like this...in their only other playoff year, they seemed content just to get there- they lost their last 2 regular season games after they clinched, and they never had a lead in the series vs. Detroit...

    Speaking of the Red Wings, both Dallas & the Jackets need a loss from them...they play the next two nights at home...two wins would by Detroit would eliminate Dallas- so the Stars could be mathematically eliminated during their game with the Blue Jackets (Det plays Nashville 1 hour earlier Thurs)...

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    1. Very exciting times indeed! I hope we have the pleasure of battling for a playoff spot for years to come!

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  4. Anybody who thinks they can write something and have it naturally interpreted as sarcasm needs to learn a thing or two about writing.

    Being called out on a comment you made and using the sarcasm rebuttal as a defense just rings hollow plain and simple.

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  5. Anonymous, he said "after picking the team to finish 26th this season". Having said that to acknowledge that the team has performed way better than he expected I doubt that he was really tooting his own horn. So yes, it was likely sarcasm; are you familiar with Morgan's writing?

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  6. Please keep in mind that the reason we do this blog is to have fun! One of the things I like about it is that you have the opportunity to comment without having to register your life away. All that said, we appreciate you reading, and taking the time to comment.

    This team has taken us on a ride none of us expected to be on, and it is to be enjoyed for what it is. (Wait a minute! Am I telling you what to do?? Sorry!) We will know in a few days if we are taking a keen interest in Monday's draft lottery, or if we are about on about other cares (please, oh, please, oh please! Ahem. Sorry. I was begging there.)

    At any rate. Please have fun with this. Which includes the occasional snark. And GO JACKETS!!

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  7. Morgan & Gallos -- you do a good job on this site, and obviously quite a few people read it. By replying to these idiotic comments, you lower yourself to their level.

    Keep up the good work, and ignore the idiots! Love the 6-pack game recap articles!

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