Archive for June, 2008

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Brian Campbell is not coming here

June 23, 2008

Brian Campbell is not coming here.  In fact, I also find it unlikely that Marian Hossa will want to play for the Jackets, even though OSU has a thriving Czech and Slovakian department.  So maybe it’s time for Blue Jacket fans to look at reality, a reality that is going to sting.

As it became painfully obvious this draft weekend, the team does not have anything of value (players) that it can deal away as it rebuilds the wreckage from Doug MacLean.  But what should also be visible is that the team is not much better than they were last year, while others around us (Chicago, Phoenix) are getting better at a faster pace.  All the draft picks and plentiful salary cap money cannot get this team better in a season or two.  And we are only coming upon that first season.

Last year, I believe that Scott Howson watched Ken Hitchcock work with the players he had, seeing if there were some gems in the mix that could play at the level needed for the team to make the playoffs.  As we all know, the team tried hard most of the time and Hitchcock and the staff worked inhuman hours trying to find something that would work, but the improvements showed that the team was two or three years behind schedule.  The truth is that the team is not going to be ready in October to make a run for the playoffs, unless another team falls back and the Jackets can pull ahead.  Of the eight Western Conference teams that made the playoffs, perhaps Colorado may slip if Joe Sakic retires and Adam Foote can’t find his leadership act.  Maybe Nashville will lose a few games to Columbus this year, but that would defy the laws of probability.  As for the other seven teams who are members of the same club as Columbus, I see improvements in each one save Vancouver and Los Angeles.

So this coming season might even be more difficult to accept for us local fans because it may be a duplicate of the one that just finished.  The team will be in the hunt until March, winning some games against Detroit and Dallas, but not winning against the Chicago’s and the Edmonton’s and the Wild, teams that must be beaten in order to sell tickets in May.

I think I can be patient once again, but I can’t take all the talk out there regarding trades that don’t exist or acquisitions that aren’t even considered outside the 614 area code.  If you want to read that kind of stuff, there are plenty of places to do so around here, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that it might come true because you read it.

The local press is reluctant to say negative things about Columbus and its institutions.  The Blue Jackets are one of those institutions (for the time being) and I am glad that I’m not bombarded with a constant stream of bad/negative news.  But I also don’t want to have smoke blown up my ass all the time, hearing that a certain star is looking to play here or that the team is a center away from dominating the Central Division.  It’s going to be tough and progress might be two more seasons away, Columbus fans.

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Finally, some leg room

June 18, 2008

Since when is it acceptable to have a 112 day break between posts?  Surely this was not in the EOB constitution when the bylaws were drafted, right?

Stuff happens, sometimes you get caught and have to spend 16 weeks in the slammer.  Or something like that.

Since Christmas Day, I’ve posted six times.  Four within the week of the trade deadline (you remember, the day the Jackets died, right?).  Truth Serum?  23 posts.  He’s been keeping things coming in so we can keep the power on.

There’s been a lot going on for me internally related to this website.  Some of it I talked about in February, and I think what I hit on that is most true is that I just wanted to be a fan for a while.  Not somebody who felt an obligation to the site, to readers, to the dozens of emails I get per week asking for a link exchange, or anybody else but myself.  I wanted to sit on my couch and yell at Ron Hainsey to keep the puck in the zone, to smile to myself when Rick Nash made a great play but just missed scoring a goal, and to rebuild my optimism in my team.

The thought of coming here daily to “give you what you expect from me” was daunting, paralyzing, and eventually made it impossible to even log on here.  Twelve months ago, I was reading over 20 hockey blogs daily.  Now, I haven’t read one in over a month.  In all honesty, it’s been kind of nice.

But the reality of the situation for me is that I don’t want this site to die.  I do, however, intend for my tone and audience to change a bit.  Mostly, I’m going to get back to my EOB roots, and I’m going to write for me.  Some of my best (read: personal favorite) posts here have been those that were not directed towards a specific game/event in hockey, but were commentary on things in hockey or sports in general that I wanted to talk about.  As EOB grew, I increasingly felt like an unpaid reporter.  News is necessary, but if I’m writing for that type of audience, I’d prefer to get paid.  Commentary comes naturally and it’s fun for me, and it’s where I’ll start directing myself.  It’s the only way this site will survive.

If anybody still stops by here, thanks.  I hope you find things to your liking (and regularly updated) as we go forward.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

– Drew