Has Hitchcock Already Returned?

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Blue Jackets contacted Ken Hitchcock about taking over as head coach of the CBJ.

Whether that ultimately happens, or not, may not matter. Hitchcock-style hockey is back in town.

After last night’s 3-1 victory over the Ducks, winger Rick Nash told the media, “We’ve got to build an identity, and I don’t think our identity is a skilled team that’s going to win with finesse and talent.”

That might come as a surprise to fans who heard about the firepower the team added this offseason and who were told to expect an uptempo, attacking style of play. It’s no surprise to the captain.  “We’re a team that’s going to win with our hard work and grit.”

Since the beginning of the season, several moves have been made to add what coach Scott Arniel calls, “stiffness” to the lineup. One of the call-ups was forward Cody Bass.

“It was a chippy game,” Bass said of the victory over the Ducks. “That’s the kind of style we gotta play. We’re not an overly skilled team. We just gotta work hard. We gotta earn everything we get.”

Bass had a team high 4 hits last night and his donnybrook with Ryan Getzlaf was one of 4 rumbles on the evening’s fight card.

Although coach Arniel said the plan wasn’t to meet the Ducks in a dark alley, he was pleased with the team’s gritty effort. “When we play with a little bit of an edge, when we play a like we’re [peeved], when we play in the hard areas and go their first…that’s usually when good things happen for us.”

Nash agreed. “I think the games we won and we were close in, we had a good forecheck and played in straight lines. We’ve got to come to grips with that. That’s our identity.”

Hitchcock couldn’t have said it any better.

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