directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Allen Muir of SI: Hope Central

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, August 31, 2007

Allen Muir of SI: Hope Central

So my first post in this blog. Hopefully those that stumble across this will enjoy it and check back often as I plan on posting multiple entries per day.

So on to the first topic at hand - here's what Muir had to say about the Jackets:

"The hard truth: It takes patience to build a winner out of an expansion team. But after the Jackets finished 23 points out of the playoffs in year six of Doug MacLean's program, it was obvious that the founding GM's approach wasn't going to work. In came Howson, a relative non-entity outside of Edmonton. It was an odd choice -- a man whose experience matched that of coach Ken Hitchcock would have been the safer move -- but Howson is highly regarded in the hockey world for his work as the Oilers' assistant GM. You can't argue with his stated build-from-within approach, but after such a disappointing season, Columbus fans deserved a bone -- certainly something bigger than what they got. The recent signing of Peca should make an impact in the room, but he's far from the world-class player of a decade ago. He essentially fills the hole created by Svitov's reverse defection to Russia. Novotny has potential. The former first-rounder has good size (6-2, 209), but six goals last season don't suggest he's a gamebreaker in waiting. Eriksson's loss will be felt -- he averaged over 20 minutes per game and led the team with a plus-12. Hejda, a 29-year-old Czech, will be hard-pressed to replace him. Still, despite the lack of a positive focal point, the Jackets are likely to improve, thanks primarily to the sheer force of Hitchcock's will. But don't expect miracles out of this lineup. The playoffs are a topic best saved for some other season."

So he gives the Jackets a grade of C which is better than we've seen from most of the "experts". I still think these writers are paying to much attention to names and not enough to changes behind the scenes. Flash over substance so to speak. There is a whole lot that has gone on behind the scenes this offseason in Jacketland that many are not privy too but believe me these things will pay dividends this season. I have been told recently that a certain Blue Jacket player who has been with the organization for quite a while has said this is the first time this "feels like an NHL team around here".

I think Hitchcock will deliver this year as remember, alot of these same writers picked basically the same team to make the playoffs last year. So now we've trimmed some fat in Carter and Berard....with proper management, coaching, conditioning, scheduling, accountability, leadership and players actually having to battle for positions this offseason things will finally be pointed in the right direction this season. The Jackets may not make the playoffs but they won't be eliminated by Thanksgiving either. Finally Jacket fans will have something to cheer for.

13 days til camp!


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