Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts on Joey's Benching

Ryan Johansen in Development Camp
Puck Rakers and today's Columbus Dispatch are reporting that Ryan Johansen was benched for Game 4 of the Springfield Falcons' second round series against the Syracuse Crunch, in which the Crunch swept the Falcons.  This was Brad Larsen's call, but according to the Puck Rakers report he did consult with upper management before benching Joey.  But I think they all concurred.

What an emotional roller coaster for a young player. The stirring battle to the end for the CBJ, the disappointment of missing the playoffs, then back to the AHL playoffs.  But the benching sends a message throughout the organization about accountability, which this fan finds heartening.  Developmentally, the CBJ had this 100% correct to send Joey and Prout back to Springfield. And for Joey, its about coming to grips with being a pro.  You may have ridden an emotional roller coaster.  Maybe you didn't show up for Game 1.  By the end of Game 2, when the coach has talked you up to try to get you ready, and you don't respond in Game 3, then you should be benched.  A pro ought to be able to hit that reset button, and get engaged after that first game.  So, lesson learned, we hope.

Management has made it clear that Johansen should focus on a great off season in order to make a strong push to make the NHL club in the fall.  Johansen should note that his spot on the big club is not a given, and that with the depth at center, and Boone Jenner's almost certain push into the mix, that he will be challenged to make the club.  Hopefully some time off, and then getting back into preparation for the season will help him to make the mental adjustment.

The other reason I am pleased about this has to do with our missing out on those lottery players in the 2013 draft which was caused by the CBJ's playoff push.  Nathan MacKinnon or Seth Jones would look really good in a CBJ uniform, no doubt.  The interesting thing about those high draft picks is that they are going to pretty much jump from juniors into the NHL.  They have the talent, and while there will be ups and downs, the teams picking these guys will make room on the roster for them.  With the CBJ picking 14th, and with two more picks in the first round, the order yet to be determined by playoff finishes, we will load 3 really good prospects into the development track.  Rather than 'making room on the roster' for these guys, they are most likely to finish their junior careers, then jump to the AHL before we will see them in the regular season in Columbus.  But it will be a shot in the arm for our development system, and soon Brad Larsen will get his chance to mold them.  These players are unlikely to be the 'high risk, high reward players'. By the time they get to Columbus, we should have a pretty good idea what they are going to bring to the table, similar to the track that Boone Jenner has taken.

All of which should make this year's annual draft party a really good time!

GO JACKETS!!

6 comments:

  1. RyJo's benching is not a good thing IMHO. It appears that Top Management and RyJo have serious differences of opinion regarding his development. I sense another 'throw-in' deal will be made similar to what happened to John Moore. Very sad.

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    1. I think it's premature to say that management has given up on Johansen. He is still a very young player, and has distinct developmental steps he has yet to go through. It took Matt Calvert a couple of years of back and forth to the minors before he 'got it' on the need to bring a professional attitude every day.

      Joey established himself as a very capable defensive player by late in the season. I think management would like to see his offensive game make progress this next year. Maturity comes at a young age for some people, for example Boone Jenner. For others, such as myself, it takes longer. Ryan has been a late bloomer at all stages of his development, and this is no different. I would be VERY surprised to see Johansen moved. I would not be shocked at all if he spent some time in the minors next year. A lot of that depends on what he takes away from this most recent lesson.

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  2. Unlike some of the more recent former Jackets, roster spots will not be a guarantee just because they were on the big club at the end of the season. As a professional athlete,( Iknow, I use that term way too often ) the player plays, the coaches tell him or her where and when. My thought in the short term is that Joey didn't think he "deserved" a demotion after the just-completed play-off run, not realizing it was another chance to improve and show he was better than his minor league counterparts. I agree with the teams handling of the situation, if only for the reason that, coddling a player leads to the EXPECTATION of being coddled. This team MAY WELL be on the verge of the breakthrough that many of us have waited for for many years. Yeah, I know, 12 isn't THAT long. Still, way too many feel they are above being demoted or benched. Part of the so-called culture on this team has been if there was ANY talent or upside to a player in this system, it was straight to the big team. My biggest curiousity is how many of them actually come back next fall READY TO COMPETE for the roster spots they held this season. THAT will be the actual START of the cultural changes on this team.

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  3. I agree. Remember Johansen had a full year last year with the Jackets who seemed apathetic [yes and pathetic] many times. He is only 20!!!!! Talent, well he shut down Joe Thorton. He had huge success with the Winterhawks, and not so much at the NHL. These are tough changes for a youngster. Boone Jenner has yet to undergo some of these things. The ball is very much in his court. I hope he knows it as much as everyone else does.

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  4. Does anyone know how many Jackets were eligible to be sent back to Springfield for the AHL Playoffs? Were Prout and RyJo the only ones? If there were other eligible Jackets who were not sent back, I could see why RyJo and Prout could have motivational issues which could affect their play. Also, without senior player leadership present at Springfield (Vinny, JJ, Foligno, etc.), peer pressure would be missing. Sure hope that this benching does not backfire on the parent squad.

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    1. Since Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson had signed one-way contract extensions I don't think they were eligible to go back to Springfield for the playoffs without going through waivers. So I think that Prout and Joey were the only ones who were eligible. But, if someone knows more please correct me.

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