"Dammit, I'm sick of us losing, and I'm sick of us playing like $#!+. I want to be Captain. I am ready to take charge of this locker room and be Captain."
That is really all that needs to be said.
In fact, I am proposing right now the first Columbus Blue Jackets player to storm into Coach Todd Richards' office and say the above words should have the "C" sewn on his jersey without hesitation. Call the team seamstress. Needle, thread, thimble. Whatever. Get it done.
Why? Because the time has clearly come for action that is decisive and drastic. How drastic...?
I've taken one of my least favorite celebrities and poorly Photoshopped her into the Blue Jackets locker room for a laugh. I have clearly reached my breaking point.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have been without a captain since Rick Nash mumbled, hemmed, hawed and shrugged his way out of Columbus in the 2012 off-season. Actually, the Jackets had been without a captain since before Nash left, but that, I have to admit, is only my opinion.
This foolhardy manner of running a hockey franchise has to stop. Now.
I don't care if it's Jared Boll. Put the damn "C" on somebody's sweater. The Jackets have gone without a captain so long, no one is playing like he even wants to be one.
That has to stop.
Brandon Dubinsky seems to be the best bet. He seems to be the only one who recognizes how badly this team is playing, and that the effort is as a big part of it.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, at the top of the Metropolitan Division, seem to be the only ones who are playing with anything resembling a sense of urgency. The fact that the rest of the Metro has struggled should have been an opportunity in the eyes of the players in the Jackets locker room. And this is a failure of leadership.
And I'm not just talking about the players.
Yes, I'm talking about the elephant in the room. You can argue all you want -- and by all means, do -- that Vinny Prospal was not in the plans, and shouldn't have been... gentleman's agreement or not.
This isn't a sentiment thing. This is sheer numbers. Prospal was the team's leading scorer. He was a leader in the locker room. He took this team to task for its godawful play in the first half of the season, and he helped lead them to within a tiebreaker of a Playoff spot, even after that godawful first half.
And the Jackets apparently didn't even negotiate with him? "Not much cap room"? Do they really think Vinny would have demanded the same $2 million to stay with a team that was clearly moving in the right direction and a fan base that embraces him for the leader and the player he is? A guy who at 38 celebrated every goal -- and he still scored them pretty well for that age -- as if it was his first?
This team needs a guy like Vinny Prospal in the locker room right now.
And the fact that they don't is a failure by the Blue Jackets' front office.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are bordering on a crisis.
The season is not by any means lost, but there need to be changes.
Is one of them a player move...? Sure, although options to move among the most suspect players is limited because of salary, unless you're giving up one of the young guys who was supposed to help build the team's future.
No one wants to take the salary or term of an Umberger or a Johnson. A Jenner or a Johansen? Hell, yeah, they do. So the Jackets aren't in a good position there.
Fire Coach Richards? No. The Jackets aren't going to solve anything by overcompensating for waiting so long to fire Scott Arniel two years ago, and doing a knee-jerk coaching change now.
Although my money says the beat writers over at the Dispatch are pining like girls at a One Direction concert and waiting for a press release announcing the hiring of Kevin Dineen.
The only answer for the time being is simple. It's in the locker room.
Straight A's aren't enough anymore. The Jackets need a C to bring up the average.
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