Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Bitterness Feels Good

Last night the Columbus Blue Jackets lost a tough road game to the league leading Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on a late penalty.  I fumed for a bit after that game.  Which is good.  Back in 2011-12, when Scott Arniel and the team put a season to bed before Halloween, I never felt this way watching a road game.  We were busy doing the 'Fail for Nail' thing, and my heart wasn't in the games.  I would just turn them off, or watch impassively.  The vibe this year is completely different.

Look, as a season ticket holder, one of my main goals is to have fun.  Winning is fun.  Let there be no doubt.  One of the beauties of the sport of hockey is that you have to learn to grapple with losing, because everyone does it.  Not even the Pittsburgh Penguins go undefeated, though you might not think it based on the attitude of their fans.  This is one of my problems with college football, this notion that you must be undefeated or you are nothing.  It's not realistic.  So losing is one of the things I like about hockey, even though it sucks.  Which is why I felt bitter about last night's game.  We lost.  It sucked.  I was bitter about a dumb penalty by a guy that has been a stalwart this year.  But dumb penalties come with the turf with Hartnell.  It's who he is, it's who he has always been.  He knows where to put that in the team structure.

No, the reason I am happy with my bitterness, is that this team is clearly improving.  They are making incremental progress every day they spend with Tortorella, and addressing the priorities as they come.  The power play has not been a priority, as D zone coverage, the breakout, and the penalty kill have been far more pressing issues.  They are starting to lose games now because of their ineffective power play, so I imagine it will work its way up the priority list.

Last night the Jackets went toe to toe with the best team in the league, yet 'found a way to lose'.  The coach sees this.  He'll fix it.  I like what Tortorella has going on here, and if ever there was a team built for him, this is it.  This is gong to be a fun year.  There's going to be some 'Hell Yes!!' moments, and some moments that suck.  But it's going to be entertaining.  There's a lot of hockey left to be played yet, so we'll see what happens.


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