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Dose of Reality #35

March 23, 2007

Back from the Dead.

Yeah, I’m still around.  I may be unreliable, but I didn’t go away.  To make a long story short, I have a day job (at this time) that keeps me busy and interferes with my life.  I’ve still been going to Blue Jacket games, watching them on television, and continuing to elevate my dislike for certain hockey GM’s.  So I want to offer a few random thoughts.

First, the season ticket renewals went out and they have embraced the “wait till next year” theme and hope you do, too.  You’ve probably seen the new commercial that features Ken Hitchcock talking about the joys of putting together a team from training camp and how much he wants the fans to be a part of this (by renewing or buying season tickets).  There is no mention of Doug MacLean nor do we hear John McConnell’s annual apology to the fans.  The renewal package is interesting in that the club appears to realize that they can’t take PSL holders for granted anymore.  They are offering discounts on concessions, guaranteed rewards, and other premiums that always seemed to go to the guy who bought a $71 ticket for $10 from a scalper out front.

Nationwide was sold-out for the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament last weekend.  I went to catch a few games and enjoyed the show, but the basketball fans were definitely quieter than Blue Jacket fans.  Sure, there were eight teams here and therefore no single group of fans could fill the place, but they just didn’t make as much noise as hockey fans do.  But there wasn’t any beer being sold, either.

The Ohio High School Hockey Championships were fun and competitive.  Upper Arlington made their game against Parma Padua interesting, but they really couldn’t match the depth of Padua.  Toledo St. John’s won the championship with depth, speed, and hard work.  Maybe a local team that uses three lines will give the northern schools a run for their money in the future.

The Jackets did whip Chicago, but it would have been nice to see that Blue Jacket team in November.  The Jackets played most of the game with hard work and intensity, just like a real NHL team.  Perhaps next season they will have more of those games, which will be great to watch while consuming discounted food from the concession stands.

Sergei Fedorov’s winning goal in the shoot-out against Detroit was sweet.  Although I have always appreciated Fedorov’s talent and accomplishments, his best days are behind him.  It is unpleasant to hear Detroit fans boo him, but I would have paid good money to be around when he put the puck in the net last night to win the game.  I’m sure the boos will be even louder the next time Fedorov plays against his old team.

– Truth Serum

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One comment

  1. I may be wrong here but it appears for the first time in the short history of this franchise that Doug MacLean ” is not in the ear” of the head coach and Hitch is the true captain of this ship. If this is the case, and it appears so, then this franchise has a chance in the next couple of seasons to make the playoffs. It will not happen next season because there is too much work that has to be done by Hitch. What Ken has to do is essentially change the “culture of losing” with this team that seemed more intent on marketing than winning. I know this sounds absurd to a Jacket’s fan but MacLean seems obsessed with rushing his vaunted draft picks than developing them. Hitch’s mandate is simple. He wants to win now with the horses he has and if that means relagating a Brule or Picard then so be it. MacLean made so many errors this season starting with the signing of Anson Carter to the resigning of Nik Zherdev that the players in the room lost respect for MacLean.Before Hitchcocks hiring,the players knew that MacLean was running the team not Gallant. So when the owners told MacLean to fire Gallant and hire Hitch the die was cast. The only way this team can successfully move forward is to let Hitch continue his mentoring and replace MacLean (as General Manager) with a more focused hockey man. If the MacConnells let/force this series of events to happen, then you have a playoff team in probably two seasons; next year is too early. If I’m a season ticket holder, I want results (WINS) and not marketing. I want to know that this team has a solid template to make the playoffs and real, experienced hockey guys at the top. The days of hiring your buds are over. The game has changed since MacLean took the Florida Panthers to the Cup final ( on Roger Nielson’s back by the way) and each season the Buffalo’s, Carolina’s, Ananheim’s and Nashville’s to name a few, have taken the game to new heights. I like where Hitchcock is taking this team since his hiring, let’s hope that the progress continues.



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