Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's Time to Start Getting Ready for the Penguins Jarmo

There is no substitute for veteran leadership
Last night we saw the final dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins by the Boston Bruins.  The Pens, in the words of Mike Milbury, were the 'prohibitive favorite to win the Cup' and were swept by Boston, 4 games to none.  The NBC Sports color analysts were unanimous that there would be a coaching change in Pittsburgh in the wake of the debacle.    So things will be different in Pittsburgh next year, and they will still be loaded with offensive talent.

And, as I have watched these playoffs unfold I have never felt, as I have in past years, that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be out of place in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  If they are playing the style of hockey next year that they played down the stretch, they are going to be in the conversation.  How did Boston sweep the Penguins?  I think they outworked them.  They beat them to loose pucks relentlessly, and checked like demons.  Sound familiar?  Boston has also showed a great deal of resiliency under duress in the playoffs, the hallmark of solid team leadership.  Much like the CBJ showed down the stretch.  Much like the Penguins didn't exhibit in the conference championship.

Adrian Aucoin, you need leadership on the
back end as well.
What were the ingredients of the CBJ's stretch run, things that they will need in ample supply next year in the eastern conference?  A relentless work ethic and a 'never say die' attitude.  These pieces have their foundation in the veteran leadership in the locker room. And Vinny Prospal is the ring leader and wellspring of these attitudes in the locker room.  The teams leading scorer, Vinny is obviously not done in the NHL.  It's time to get him signed to a new contract Jarmo.  I know you have been focusing on the draft.  I know we need to sign Bob.  Vinny's contract should be easier.

Prospal is the guy who knows how to have fun, but also knows how that you have to work hard, and then work harder.  He sets that example on a day to day basis, which is a critical example for our young players.  They are not ready to do it without him.  It's time to get this foundation piece in place Jarmo.  Its time to sign our leading scorer.

Adrian Aucoin, by all accounts, was a crucial leader on the back end.  Where are you going to put Murray's locker stall?  Next to Aucoin.  The back end may be crowded, but Aucoin will miss enough games due to injury to give the young 'uns a chance to play.  But they will need to him to help navigate the NHL as young players.

These are two, easy, one year contracts to preserve the veteran leadership in the locker room.  As much as the Penguins were loaded for a Cup run, this is one ingredient they were lacking.  The CBJ do not have the talent margin to enjoy that luxury.  It's time Jarmo.  Let's get this done.


1 comment:

  1. Leadership is not why the Bruins won. They have superstars who are insanely talented. The best shutdown center in hockey, a top 5 d-man, an elite scorer, and a goalie with a .985 save percentage. They didn't work harder in games 1, 3, and 4. Their elite players just performed a bit better in a short series. Repeat those games and Rask is just a bit less perfect? This is a totally different hockey world we're thinking about today.

    Heck, Pittsburgh arguably has better leadership with vets like Morrow and Iginla on the team. Except Morrow isn't all that good at hockey anymore which goes back to the skill problem: it's better to have skill than useless "leaders."

    The Blue Jackets don't need leaders, they need skill to keep up with elite teams like Boston and Pittsburgh, or the high powered forwards like Giroux, Tavares, Ovechkin, Staal, and Kovalchuk in their division next year.


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