Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two gems from the Puck Rakers comments

Yes, I periodically troll the Puck Rakers blog.  Here are a couple items that really jumped out at me:

1. The Columbus Arena District was highlighted in this great article in the Edmonton Journal.  The Oilers management apparently is looking at the entire Arena District as a model for their eventual replacement of Rexall Place.  They could do a LOT worse than Columbus (but make sure the gargantuan university up the street doesn't pull any crap like Ohio State did with building a similar arena at the same time...).  For those who don't know the backstory on the District, it's definitely worth the read.

The "Keep the Jackets in Columbus" folks should be waving this article from the streetcorners.  It tells a great story about the community and the contribution that the Arena District has made.

2. More pertinent to the Columbus Blue Jackets, I note this comment from the Calgary game summary:
When Hitch called time out after the equalizer, all he said to the boys was "this is our f-ing game!" four times. The problem is they needed to play that way. Opponents seem to sense our tentativeness and go for the kill in the third periods. Finish should be the only word they should say and hear from here on out.
I wasn't at the game, nor do I believe everything that's posted in the comments. Still, I can very easily see Ken Hitchcock doing this. What I also hope happened is that a player or two did the same. The coach is pulling his hair out trying to harness the impressive talent on the Blue Jackets to mold a winner, but the players have to "carry the flag" at some point. There's been an undercurrent of discussion regarding the lack of veteran leadership (I jumped on this bandwagon a month ago), and observations like this tend to back up the assertions that the players - presumably veterans - need to get this team focussed.  Coaches fulfill this role in college play, but the veterans shoulder much more of the burden in the pros.

I offered a thought back in October and think it bears repeating:
They have beaten themselves through poor execution, sloppy play and loss of composure, but they have the talent to beat just about anyone in the NHL.  The question is whether they have it in them.
The coaches can only carry the team so far.  The players have to bring it home.  (For 60 minutes, too.)


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