directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Changes continue...

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Changes continue...

Another great day of Jacket coverage from the Columbus Dispatch this morning. Today the Dispatch takes a look at some of the changes going on in the background for this franchise.

The first article focuses on the physical fitness level of the Jackets. Fans, including myself, have speculated over the past 6 seasons that the Jackets just didn't seem to keep up with other NHL teams. Sure part of that could be talent level but there were also questions about the team's fitness level -- quite frankly they looked tired and out of shape out there. Any remaining questions regarding fitness levels should be put to bed this year if you buy into what coach Ken Hitchcock is selling:

"I knew that was the feeling throughout the NHL before I came here," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That's what was described to me by two or three Western Conference coaches."

Then Hitchcock paused, perhaps for dramatic effect.

"That isn't going to be a factor here anymore," he said.

"We can't spend much time on conditioning," Hitchcock said. "We told the players to be ready. There won't be a warming up."

OK Tollefsen seems to have bought into it and has a little advice for his fellow teammates:

"You'd be pretty stupid to show up to this camp out of shape."

So not only will player be held accountable and are expected to come to camp "in shape" they Jackets are also giving strength and conditioning coach Barry Brennan more authority to direct players. He will now be accompanying the team on the road to keep an eye on players and even order team meals.

The next article takes a look at changes that have happened in the dressing room:

"Ken gave me a list of things he'd like to get done," general manager Scott Howson said. "So we went to work."

The office at the end of the hallway off the dressing room, right across from the coaches' quarters, once was reserved for general manager Doug MacLean, the only NHL GM to keep office space in the dressing room area.

Now it has been gutted and turned into a theater, to be used almost daily during the season for special teams meetings.

The hallway from the main dressing room to the players lounge is now covered by a large blue board that will be used to commemorate Blue Jackets accomplishments.

"Rick Nash winning the Rocket Richard Trophy (2004) will be up there," Howson said. "A list of our captains, our season goal, assists and point leaders.

"The idea is to get some tradition started here, to establish our identity."

Tradition, identity, accomplishments......I'm lovin it. Anyone else excited for the season to start yet?!


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