Back to Back Cuts No Slack!!
Three losses on the road is usually nothing to really fret over. The CBJ's though are truly concerned and they rightfully should be in a state of quandary; especially in the manner they lost the last three games. Simply put, when a lead is taken in the first or second period of the hockey game, six years ago would have translated into a sure fire victory. The game has changed. With the removal of clutching grabbing and obstructing, teams with speed, determination and moxie find a way to get back into the contest.
I sit in the stands of Scotiabank Arena in Ottawa awaiting the team to practice. There is wonderment of how this team will find a way though these times, but it is trusted the staff and the players will forge through the rubble and get back to finishing off games they have deserved to win. As I wonder, it keeps popping up in my mind the first few games we played under the new Hitch regime. One common thread was how the team bonded to play a tight and actually a non-assuming game. There were units of five coming out on short energized shifts of 30-35 seconds. The gap/spacing was tight to a 3/4 zone depth with all five players responsibilities were simple in the neutral zone. Taking away the diagonal and long stretch pass through the middle of the ice, was the flavor of the introduction. It was effective, it was sharp and distinct, and it was apparent the team appreciated the structure and the "on ice" team discipline. It was quickly accepted and a change from the past, this form of play.
It is a simple game of work and effort, which produces results. It does not need to be complicated in the approach. It does need the entire unit to demand the best from everyone each and every night, from one end of the bench to the other... goalies included. It is the return of defensive pride. It is hard to do. It is something you build the team to respect and perform.
If the results are not immediate, accountability should return to the equation if one portion of the five-man unit is not part of the 60-minute solution. This is a team of 23 and every night one piece of the pie must be replaced for freshness and desire.
In conclusion, the team needs to get back to what got them there!! The blue shirts are jumping onto the pond as I write... they are followed by a gray haired man that has been there before. I am intrigued to see what is next on the docket of team building and getting back to the winning ways!!... it is a dire need, losing the last three games in the manner they did!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac's Blog," "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.