Monday, October 18, 2010

Minnesota's post-CBJ bag skate: Should we be flattered?

In case you didn't see, the Columbus Blue Jackets rebounded from a Friday night drubbing at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup champs by flying up to the Twin Cities (in "The State of Hockey" - a cool moniker if there ever was one) on Saturday and pulling out a win against the Minnesota Wild.

What I didn't know/care about was that Minnesota has had all sorts of side issues this year.  Minnesota is currently 1-2-1, losing to Carolina and Columbus in regulation, losing again to Carolina in a shootout, and beating Edmonton.  None of these teams, my friends, are world-beaters (and that sadly includes Columbus right now).  Then, catching up on the part of the game that I missed on GameCenter Live, I note that the pregame mentioned Wild coach Todd Richard's "Use your [expletive] brains" comment to his team.  Then the Wild failed to sell out Saturday night's game for the first time in the team's 10-year history.  These are not good signs.

Now the Wild, in their first year under GM Chuck Fletcher and coach Richards last season, started the painful transition from clutch-and-grab and went to the post-lockout puck-possession game last season.  They wound up in 13th place, only 5 points ahead of a Blue Jackets team that took 6 weeks off last fall and got Ken Hitchcock fired as a result.  The Jackets made the move to the same mode of play this season with a markedly more prepared roster than the Wild, despite what some folks would have you believe.  In my opinion, that's why the Blue Jackets, in their 4th game of the new system, could beat the Wild, who are in their 86th.

Anyway, Richards appears to be on the hot seat already in Minnesota, a sign of the "What have you done for me in the last 5 minutes?" culture that dominates our short-attention span world.  And he's feeling the pressure.

Richards apparently ran a "bag skate" practice yesterday for his team, one worse than any that 37-year-old John Madden can remember.  Besides the gut-blowing intensity, Richards also let loose with language that apparently could make the Fox Sports Ohio pregame quote blush.  As the article says, "The four-letter words flew in record numbers."  HFBoards compiles the (literal) blow-by-blow practice report.  Ugly stuff.

I feel for those folks in Minnesota, I really do.  No one likes to be in a losing situation that only compounds itself.  At the same time, this is a Columbus Blue Jackets blog...and the bag skate was after a game played against the CBJ.

So....should we be flattered that Richards let loose after the Wild lost to us?  Or insulted?  I mean, they lost to Carolina as well, and the 'canes aren't exactly the best team in the NHL.  Yet Richards dropped the hammer after our game.  What does that say about what Richards and Fletcher think of Columbus?

Or, perhaps maybe the question really should be, what do Richards and Fletcher think of their own team?

Food for thought.


  1. I'm a little flattered...the CBJ showed the heart and will to win that Richards felt the Wild didn't have. Sure, a 3-2 loss to Washington or Chicago probably won't net you a bag skate like one to Columbus, but that's the State of Hockey right now. I don't love the insinuation but I'm holding out hope that everyone (including Richards) has the Jackets figured all wrong this season.

  2. What, no mention of Hitch as the potential replacement?


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