Friday, July 27, 2018

Embracing Going Vegas on the Rest of the NHL

Columbus Blue Jackets!  C'mon down!
There is something magical about the inaugural season of an NHL club.  The players know they are up against it, and band together into a tightly knit bunch.  Even the inaugural Blue Jackets did that, and Ron Tugnutt established a record for wins for an expansion goal tender until Fleury demolished that record.  There is a bond between the fans and the players, and the atmosphere can be awesome.

And Vegas this year, launched from a much better starting position than the CBJ, roared into a Stanley Cup Final.  Huge props to the players, the coaches, and the management.  And I think its time for the CBJ to take a page out of their book, and go all in for this year. 

In a previous post I opined that salting the increased value over our investment in Artemi Panarin back into the organization by trading him now was a choice that I favored.  I have been a season ticket holder since about 2005, I'm in too deep to back out now.  I'll probably keep buying tickets.  So for me, I think about the long haul.  But a reality I don't often consider is that people keep talking about the possibilities of Columbus as a market, instead of the realities.

It is valid to state that a rather large sector of the Blue Jackets fandom REALLY needs to see an extended playoff run sooner rather than later.  Therein lies the gist of one of the other options.  It is a high risk option, sure, but there is high reward if you rise above the risk.  That option is to ignore the contract status of Panarin and Bobrovsky as of July 1, 2019, and make a run for the Stanley Cup now.  The best players on the team are under contract until that time, and you make it clear to the team at the beginning of the season that it is time to win a Cup, for the sake of the franchise.

Lambert, over on Yahoo did a pretty solid analysis of this, and one of  his points that intrigued me was that a deep run, such as to a Cup final, would generate enough cash to make it pay for the organization that it was worth keeping Panarin for 2018-19, even if he walked in free agency.  He also pointed out that running into a hot goal tender in the first round could easily derail that strategy.  Which is a good point.  But if you do this approach, it applies to Bobrovsky as well.  Bob may want to be the highest paid goal tender in the league.  If he wants to be the best goal tender in the league he CANNOT let another goal tender best him, no matter how 'hot' that goal tender is.  That is what a contract year means to a player.

There are some advantages to the 'all in' approach.  For one, the team thinks short term, about this season.  They look around the room, and know it will be different next year, so the group needs to write its legacy.  Another is that the coach thinks long term.  A coach only thinks about the next game at some level, but the coaches strategy should also take into account an expectation that 'this is the year' and that a long playoff run is in the offing. 

Another thing that would have to change, is how the fans approach the season.  A lot of fans, like me, who have gone into a season with high hopes only to see it over by Halloween, kind of wait and see what happens.  We wade into the season, and as raucous as Nationwide Arena can get at times, it can be pretty quiet in October, November, and sometimes December. 

If this is a season where we are 'all in', that means all of us.  The fans need to start by bringing the thunder early and often, and be focused on making the home atmosphere a challenge for the opposition.  It will be a lot of work, it will be crazy, and it may well end in disappointment, for the opposition is formidable.  But you would know you left it all out there.

None of the things I have talked about are sustainable here, year in, year out, until we have finally established the reality of this market, and have achieved significant success.  But it is very doable for the short term.  A special season.  But someone needs to call it; To say the way its going to be, such as Babe Ruth pointing into the outfield.

So if we are going to go 'all in' this year, I respectfully request that John Davidson stroll to the lectern on media day, and give a short and simple speech: "Damn the torpedoes!!  Full speed ahead!  We're going for the Cup!"  And then we'll all be on notice that its 'all in'.

And that my friends, would be wildly entertaining!

GO JACKETS!!
GO MONSTERS!!


2 comments:

  1. I have to agree, it would be "wildly entertaining " just as it would be a huge change in attitude to have some sources simply give up on re-signing a star player this far in advance of free-agency. Before the July 1 opening of signings THIS YEAR there were those, and still are, that are of the mind to give up on even the possibility that A Panarin might resign . Are those same scribes willing to say definitively that he wouldn't consider a resign with, say a six or seven game loss in the conference finals? I always look forward to new posts on this sight, because even if we disagree, there is always room for discussion. But for those who are already writing this season off and saying we need to cut our losses now, before even the first pre-season meeting? Seriously? A large percentage of us are "all in " all year. It's kind of what being a fan is all about. I don't attend 40 games a year. sometimes only a few. But I am aware every day of the teams status, who is up next, injuries, etc.If we get to late February and things are not going well then fine, do what needs to be done. But don't take away the anticipation and excitement that has been building since mid-April. "Wait til next year " is almost here, and as a long-suffering fan of other sports teams, I can't wait to see if the wait is worth it. As always, thanks to you for your opinions and intelligent commentary. CBJ CBJ

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  2. Thanks much for the comment. I do this for fun, so comments such as yours go a long way to keeping it fun. @gallosdbj

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