directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Coaches Show with Ken Hitchcock notes

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Coaches Show with Ken Hitchcock notes

I just got done listening to the first ever "Coaches Show with Ken Hitchcock" and I must say it was fantastic.

Of course many of you know that former GM Doug MacLean held this same time slot prior to his dismissal and if any of you ever listened regularly you would have noticed a lot of friendly blather back and forth between MacLean and host Jeff Rimer.

Not so anymore. This show was filled with 3 segments of great questions and answers regarding the state of the team from a coach who most certainly "gets it". I'm sure he isn't thrilled to be doing the show but understands its an opportunity to promote the Jackets.

What I don't want to see happen though is as this team goes through rough stretches the fans grill him. Honest hard questions will be most certainly welcomed but needless flames and attitude won't be (hopefully).

Okay so now on to the good stuff - here are the notes that I captured from the inaugural show - these were taken short hand so please excuse the rawness of them:

Peca - big bite on our team...hasn't been healthy fro the last little while.. will play significant role.

Novotny - with Fritsche and Voracek tomorrow night on the 4th line. Was a 3rd line checking center in Buffalo, a lot of PK, will play same role here.

Russell - arguably in some of the game he's been our best defensemen.. for some players the game just doesn't seem to quick... unbelievable knack of knowing when to jump in and out of the play... he's learned how to check as a small defensemen -- if your off balance or you don't protect the puck properly he'll pull away from you -- he's been most impressive -- is he on the team? - "not for me to say yet"

Next 3 games will decide alot about younger players -- can they hold their own against NHL players Brule has been most impressive considering where he was last year to this year. He's played feisty, hard and smart. Looks like a regular NHL player out there now.

To get to 100 point team needed to correct 70 goals... whether it be score 40 and allow 30 less or whatever.

Defensive team play has to improve. Have to allow less goals 5 on 5 and have to be more consistent killing penalties. Allow a lot less will score a lot more. Been a big focus in camp. Its overall team commitment to team defense.

Zherdev thoughts...? He's been working hard but not creating offensively like we would like him to. Try to get him to use his legs more. If you don't score you get tentative and if you get tentative here you over handle the puck and get flat footed. Have to find a way to use his speed offensively. More than accountable from red line back. He's over thinking.

He and Scott work together on the 23 man rosters and then Scott pretty much leaves him alone after that. It depends on the opponent, player's ability, etc. Its a partnership. Scott and Ken think alike and have the same belief system in style of play. Value system on each player similar.

Feels that Nash is not gonna be just a good player this year...he's gonna be great. Sees that at practice, in his personality, in games... Where he went from conditioning this year from last has been incredible. 23 years old which is young for an emerging player -- thinks will be dominant.

Impression of Columbus? Great city - I love it here. Didn't know what Midwestern values were ...but when you live here you really learn about it. For not making the playoffs when you see the support we get is incredible. From fans to print to electronic. When we start taking the steps we think we can take the support can even be stronger. We've got to earn the
support now and the players have dug in to do that.

Fans refer to him as "Coach" and you kind of like that? Never been called that in my life but when your in the US, especially here, not used to it. But understand why here with the Ohio State coaches and history.

Last year team ran out of gas in the 3rd period in the first game last year. What are some things that have been done to fix that? People confuse energy with hope. When they're not convinced they have enough talent or character to win.

Who came into the best shape -- guys who made the biggest jump? Ron Hainsey went from 50th to top 10. Top 3 are Nash/Hainsey/Brule.

Chimera - hoping for breakout.. think capable for 25 goals.

Vyborny - ready to go. Play Thursday. Looks terrific w/ Nash.

Fedorov and his role - 5 on 5 w/ PP. Same role w/ Detroit. Will play a lot of point on PP. PK min taken over by Peca and Novotny.

How do veterans look? How are they molding w/ young guys? Will be competitive every night? We'll be competitive but want to win. Older players have really embraced some of the younger players. Doing everything we can to build a team b/c we'll break teams down and won't be the first to crack. What we are doing all adds up to a great team atmosphere.

Went into Chicago and won when they had 15 veterans in there which gave them some confidence. The game in Buffalo was also good. The next two games will tell them where they are at against Carolina so curios to see how they match up against a really good team.

So there ya have it. Lots of good little nuggets in there to chew on before tomorrow game.
Oh and I think can say now with quite a bit of confidence that Kris Russell is a lock to make this squad :)


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