Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dear Jackets Fan...Why So Blue?

Well everyone else has posted their thoughts on the realignment so I figured I would join the rest of the cool kids and throw in my two cents.  Of course I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that my (much smarter!) colleagues here at DBJ have already offered some food for thought, first Gallo's initial recap and then some words from DBJ himself.

I was surprised, quite honestly, last night to watch the reactions on Twitter. So many of us have griped about the late starts, long (and expensive!) travel demands and tough opponents that it was a bit shocking to see so many come out saying we got the short end of the stick, or that we're no better off in the "B Division" (and clearly the problem is we're not in the D [DD!] Division) than before. The opinion seems to be dominating that we are "in no better position to make the playoffs than before".

But here's the deal...there is no shortcut to success.

You know what will get us closer to the playoffs? Winning. You know what gets you more wins? Sustained smart and quality play.

Look - I don't want to be the team that makes the playoffs every year because we had a "weak schedule" and eased our way in only to make an early exit, year after year after year. That's really only one joke away from where we are now. Seriously.

I, for one, am pleased with the realignment. I appreciate that we'll see all the NHL teams - great for a city looking to grow its NHL hockey fan base and to fill those seats at Nationwide. We also have imposed control on the variables that can be mitigated - time and money "wasted" on travel and fan attention spans. We have more games that don't require me to stay up waaaaay past my bedtime, and we aren't flying to Timbuktu and back all the time wasting money and our players' time and energy on something other than the game.

No matter what teams are in our division, we can't dictate their success or failure like we can travel and dollars spent. It is up to the Blue Jackets to play the quality of hockey that earns them a playoff spot. Because that is the type of play that will also then make the playoffs meaningful. Way back before this season started, I, and many others, said we didn't just want a playoff appearance, we wanted playoff WINS. So to get those victories we need to field a team that can fight more than just weak opponents in a weak conference.

I see this as an instance where our front office has done what they can do on a specific variable. Quotes circulated last night that Priest's comments were key in influencing votes. We should acknowledge that, here, Priest and Howson seem to have done their job.

The responsibility now lays with building a team (in all aspects) that can play the way a team that deserves to be in the playoffs plays. As Dan said today, "I am still a firm believer that (the team) holds their own destiny every year."

Boys - I want you in the playoffs, but I want you to deserve it. And I still think you can...no matter what division.

#CalltoArms #StandandFight

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