Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cleansing Breath

At least Saad is scoring
I'm still not really sure where to go with this.  The simmering anger of last night has dissipated.  There are things that I would have said last night that shouldn't have been said, mainly because I don't think they would have been correct.  The anger clouds the judgement, and leads to false conclusion.

So where is this going wrong?  I was shocked to see in the stats that they put 41 shots on Anderson.  So some things are going right.  Certainly the first power play unit looks awesome.  But 5 on 5 play is not so good, and the penalty kill is abysmal.

If you look at the Ottawa goals there is one constant.  Time and space.  Blue Jackets hockey is supposed to be tight checking hockey.  That has only been intermittently present during the first 4 games.  The consistency in that area must improve, especially in the defensive zone.  This is a mental thing, I think, and recoverable.  It takes a lot of energy to play that way, and mental toughness, something else that has been absent so far this year.

Which leads to the consistency issue related to slow starts.  If Blue Jackets hockey is mentally and physically taxing to play, it is perhaps foolish to think that you can just flip that switch on, and play it from the drop of the puck in the season.  It also seems that a dip into 30th place is somehow necessary to ignite the urgency that allows the team to jell, and get into its groove.  If previous seasons are any predictor, this is going to come together rather slowly.  At this point if they can jell and be playing good solid Blue Jackets hockey by the end of October, they will be somewhat ahead of schedule.

The way this has worked in the past is a slow pull out of the losing streak.  First keeping a game close.  Then tying a game.  Then winning one, losing one, winning one, and then perhaps a winning streak.  So this is gonna take some time folks.  But as of this morning, there were 8 winless teams in the NHL so far this year, some of which were predicted to go far.  Four of them were are in the Metropolitan Division, so things aren't getting away from us terribly.

Please don't get me wrong on this.  I'm not suggesting that fans should bottle up their frustration or anger, nor am I suggesting that fans should be patient.  Indeed, I think that is some of the back pressure that is necessary to propel this team into 'Blue Jackets Hockey' mode.  So let it flow.  Let people know what you think.  It's OK to expect this team to be much better, and its OK to be angry if it underachieves.  Once the players' anger, frustration, and humiliation about being 30th in the league reaches a certain point, they are going to be difficult to handle.  They aren't there yet, and we don't know how long the journey through the abyss will take.  But this is the pressure that will form the team and the new leadership.

I am not a big fan of booing the players, especially if I think they are in over their heads.  This group is not in over its head.  So I made sure I booed loud and long last night.  Because I am hoping that is part of the pressure necessary to turn this lump of coal of a 2015-16 season into a diamond.


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