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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nash flying under the radar shows Jackets poised for breakout



Heard much Nash chatter this pre-season? Outside of the odd "first year as captain" talk or "NHL2K cover boy" promos its been a pretty quiet pre-season for the franchise.

..and that my friends is a damn good thing!

In year's past Nash has been, as the great Princess Leah would say, our only hope. Not so much this year. Not with the transformation this team underwent in the offseason.

The focus has shifted.

This pre-season has been about the young kids, the revamped blueline, Huselius' mad puck skills and ability to use teammates, RJ Umberger's OSU connections and top 6 potential and Commodore's afro.

..again, that's a damn good thing!

We all know what Nash can do and brings to this team. He's quietly racked up 3g, 5a for 8 points in 4 pre-season games. His game this pre-season, already his 6th as a pro, has been just fine and he's done his job promoting the game and team within and outside of Ohio's boarders. He's never been the reason why the Jackets haven't gotten over that playoff hump.

Quite frankly he's done his job every year in improving, getting stronger and becoming a leader while the organization hasn't.

Draft picks have come and gone. Management has been turned over. Free agents were hired and then fired. Blockbuster trades have been made which quite frankly were more bust than block. The coaching carousel has turned and then turned again. The losses have piled up. All the while #61 kept his mouth shut, delivered on the ice, toed the company line and continued to represent himself, the franchise and this city in a first class fashion.

Whenever anyone talked about Columbus really the only subject was "Rick Nash". He was for a long time the only bright spot in an 7 year on-ice history of dark days.

That has all changed with the hiring of Hitch, the firing of Maclean and the leadership, patience and vision his replacement, Scott Howson, has brought to this organization.

Now the buzz is about the team's legitimate first push towards the playoffs. Its about the kids like Russell, Brassard, Voracek, Mason and Filatov. Its about the competitive character players that Howson brought into the fold in Commodore, Tyutin and Torres. The skill of Huselius and to a lesser extent Backman. Its about the depth the organization has. Its about how fast this team can come together. Its about Rick Nash finally having a supporting cast to work with.

Rick Nash will always be the face of this franchise until he decides to leave or, cross our fingers, retires as a Blue Jacket. He's carried this franchise on its shoulders since the Jackets traded up to make him the #1 pick in the 2002 draft and he will continue to do so.

This is a team game though and he can't do alone.

The fact that management went out and got him some legitimate help...well, its a damn good thing!

-LTL

5 comments:

Erik said...

Just 1 day people, can't wait for the first game.. Dallas, Phoenix, SJ and eventually those $%&*@ predators... If we get a 2-2 out of these first 4 games or better we are on the right track...
Dallas in my opinion is the 2nd best team in the league after the wings, San Jose will most likely be in the top 4 of the west and predators will always be a though opponent. The only question mark are the coyotes, they lost some veterans on the backend and added Jokey Oki.. All in all 4 though opponents... LET'S GO JACKETS...

LTL said...

I'm with you Erik.. we take 4 points out of first 4 and we are in good shape.

-LTL

Bruce said...

LTL - Amen to your post about getting a supporting cast for Rick. I totally agree.

I am concerned about the challenge of opening on the road in Dallas, Phoenix and SJ. The Stars and Sharks are going to be tough. I'd love to see us get at least 3 points out of the trip, which would be the equivalent of .500.

And I am totally looking forward to the home opener against the Preds. Its time for this team to make a statement. I expect there to be a lot of emotion on and off the ice, since they are recognizing Mr. Mac. If that doesnt get this team and the crowd jacked up nothing will. Nashville is the perfect opponent to show that this isnt the same team as last year.

erik said...

You are 100% correct Bruce

Max said...

I want to get a Mike Commodore bathrobe. any suggestions where I could get a CBJ patch and some cheap numbers to sew on the back?