Thursday, March 31, 2011

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

So we are heading to DC tonight to see our beloved Jackets play the Caps. And, allegiances to my friend Blair aside, I'll admit I have a small hope that we can pull out a win...or at least a point...or at least a respectable performance. (I confess, I do like Ovi)

I do believe that regardless of what sport, regardless of what team, every fan should experience going to an away game. (Pens fans and that ridiculous taking over of Nationwide aside)

As a visitor even if you win, being in the minority away from home turf can (should!) teach you a lot about class and humility. If you lose, you will see receiving crap from home fans in a whole new light as well.  Hopefully...this turns around into how you will treat visiting fans in your home arena.

Hopefully we'll have some good stories to share...haven't been in the Verizon center since back when we still lived there and it was called the MCI Center. If you see two people in blue jerseys, that's probably us. LOL.

Looking forward to it - win, lose or draw!

Go Jackets!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Under the Bus or an Invitation to Get On?

Quote of the year. That's what NBC/Versus/Network that screws up Hockey called it.

The exact quote attributed to Coach Scott Arniel regarding call-ups from our AHL team by both the Dispatch and NBC was this:

“I’m kind of caught on the fence on that one,” Arniel said. “(It’s) a little bit of the guys that are here are the ones who got us into this mess and they are the ones who have to finish it off. The other side (of it) is do we want to have to some guys play some games that could help us next year?”

When this quote hit the Twitterverse from what I saw, it was met with universal approval and hurrahs. Now granted, obviously like draws like, a lot of the CBJ fans I follow - though NOT all - share similar opinions on "the CBJ situation" to mine. And while we are getting disclaimers out of the way, let me say that thus far, I am definitely an Arniel fan-girl. Like him, like his style.

So imagine my surprise when I saw our own Aaron Portzline stir the pot a little bit by taking the spin on this quote that Arniel was throwing his players under the bus. Porty's take - and I do love love love Porty (appreciate his commitment to keeping folks updated and willingness to engage and not just throw "news" out into the ether) - was based on, in his words, the fact that Arniel did not use "We" to include himself in the "mess" and that this was cause for question. To Porty's credit, he acknowledged he likes a good quote - and that's what reporters are supposed to do...

But I remain in support of Arniel's quote and attitude. First, we've heard pretty much all good about the impressions of Arniel's leadership from players in the CMH as well as at his previous posts. These are not Hitchcock days. Second, throughout this roller coaster season, the one thing that would get me most upset was when the team just seemed to "stop caring" on the ice. I like players with fire, fight and intensity (if you know me you know I swear allegiance to #15 but we'll get to that later) and, while I don't always know when someone lines up improperly for a power play kill, I do feel like I know when the heart just goes out of our team.

Let's face it, this roster is not "used" to getting to the playoffs. And some argue we ARE "used" to a bit too much losing. And winning is not just physical conditioning its mental as well. You learn that you like steak enough, you'll scrimp and save to buy yourself one every once and a while - no matter what it takes.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know - we've heard many versions of these coaching and leadership platitudes for decades. But I really believe that, in a coming off season where every knows we are poised for moves (or lack there of on some players) that Arniel is setting a precedent that the status quo will not be tolerated. Just as when we were little, mom or dad taught us to clean up our own mess, Arniel's starting at the basics. Get a mindset that drives you to do what it takes to win. And take responsibility for your action - or inaction.

Arniel is setting the stage that people either get on the bus that he is driving, or we're going to find someone to take your place - and the key is he is CHALLENGING his players to step up to the plate. I believe that in what will be an active off season, this kind of growing "team personality" is what we need not only to affect who's already here, but who we hope to attract - those with the heart of a Jacket (see what I just did there? ;) )

Go Jackets! Beat the Panthers!

What this blog is all about...

So I can't help myself. I'm going to start blogging about the Columbus Blue Jackets. (and yes I'm going to work on the god awful design of this page)

I figure its only sensible to clarify a few things first so that the flamers know exactly who they are bashing when they come a callin' :)

I'm a sports fan since birth, but admittedly still learning a lot about the game of hockey. If you're looking to find astute critique of so and so's technique, or the proper defensive scheme for our team to excel or an in-depth analysis of the draft market and how we work within our salary cap - I thank you for stopping by but please move on. There are many MANY bloggers I respect who do a much better job than I at that. And quite frankly - I'd just look foolish.

What this is about is the perspective of one fan. One fan who believes that the job of a fan is to support the team they choose to follow. One fan who believes that concepts of team and dedication and desire are potentially just as important as an amazing forecheck or shot. Movies like Rudy, Rocky, Better Off Dead? Yep - I buy into all of them (what? You haven't seen Better Off Dead? Its only like one of the best movies EVER!).

But I'm also not stupid. I've been around long enough to know that hockey is a business - that teams can suck and that sometimes even your very favorite player is expendable no matter how great he is in your mind. And yes, I have no doubt someone at some point will call me Pollyanna but I do know our beloved Jackets have a looong way to go.

So - if you want to hear the musings of someone who is interested in the alchemy that will combine with skill to make us a winning and...dare I say it...playoff contender, then stick around.

Otherwise, I simply leave you with this - I do believe and Go Jackets!!