Aaron Portzline’s weekly Blue Jackets chat is always compelling. But this week, Portzline provided a narration for the soul-searching of CBJ fans, and it’s an absolute must-read.
Among the highlights: Three teams have fired their coaches who have winning records this season. Good is not good enough. But this [Columbus] club has strived to be competitive, dreamed of landing the eighth spot in the West. Competitive should be the low end of the spectrum. The playoffs should not be seen as a huge accomplishment. More than half the clubs in the league make it. They’ve set the bar low, and that way of thinking pervades all.
Amen, Porty! Just to illustrate this, let me take the comments of one Blue Jackets player following the announcement on NHL realignment: “I think it’s important for a franchise like ours that’s still growing.” (emphasis mine)
A franchise like ours? The Blue Jackets should be light years removed from considering themselves any different from any other club. This is not an expansion team.
But speaking of the Jackets as an expansion team, here’s more from Portzline: I’d treat 2012-13 as Inaugural Year No. 2 (oxymoronic, I know) and start all over again. Pick the players you can build around, the character guys you can support the youth movement with, and I’d start moving forward in that direction sooner rather than later.
The website “Hockey’s Future” has the Blue Jackets ranked 11th in the NHL in terms of the strength of their prospects. The club’s AHL farm team, features a couple nice players, especially Springfield forward Cam Atkinson.
Finally, there’s this: What’s sad about all of this, and I choose that word (sad) carefully, is how far this organization has been allowed to slip from the excitement and passion and caring it generated in the first two years of the franchise. That’s almost unforgivable…The passion seems almost forgotten, and so many of the people who have assumed power have no idea what it was like, how good it can be. They almost sneer and mock those who wish to remember it. It’s a matter of pride. When I hear people say, “the Blue Jackets will never be this because of Ohio State…” it sends me through the roof. That, bub, is your job. Make it happen. It can be done. It should be special here. It once was.
Ironically, all the Blue Jackets would have to do is search through their own archives. Yes, it’s been a long time since anyone described Nationwide Arena as being electric or an intimidating place to play. Heck, it seems like an eternity since the team’s lone trip to the playoffs. However, for anyone in the CBJ organization to dismiss how special it was to see the fans that excited, to have the city embrace the team and the team to embrace the city, it’s not only unforgivable, it’s completely ludicrous.
Maybe they think if they open that chapter of their history, all the other–less glorious–chapters will be remembered. But only by realizing what is possible and by striving for NOTHING LESS THAN THAT can this team ever turn the page.
Again, I highly recommend all of Porty’s work. This week’s chat is certainly no exception.