When Aaron Portzline from the Columbus Dispatch tweeted after Thursday's debacle in Phoenix that Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel was having a closed-door team meeting... my first thought was, "Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that one...."
Then the first thing that popped into my head was that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark -- you know... they open the Ark, the souls turn to horrifying beasts, faces melt off, people explode, etc.
Figuring the fly on the wall would also not survive such a spectacle, I changed my mind and just went to bed.
And unlike much of the season, I went to bed very bitter... not just because the Jackets are out of the Playoffs, but that they were playing like it. They have alternated between a team whose best effort just isn't good enough because of little mistakes leading to opposing goals, or a team that just doesn't seem to be trying.
This season threatened to go to hell after another godawful December-January run, but this team fought back to reach "buyer" status at the NHL Trade Deadline, and looking oh-so-close to getting above that Playoff line.
However, the season has been pretty much going back to hell since then. And since the Playoffs started getting out of reach, the Blue Jackets have seemed almost content to stay there, book a tee time for April 13, and so forth.
Playoffs or no, that overall attitude and/or effort needs to change. Sure, the Playoff Push is over....
Wow. That may be the first time I've said that and committed to it. That sucks.
Sure, the Jackets can have only so much impact on the rest of the Western Conference Playoff race.
But dammit... these guys have eight games to go out and play some hockey like they know they can play it. Starting with this one. Forget for one game that Vancouver is the best team in hockey, and looking well on its way toward the Presidents Trophy this season.
So what if the Playoff Push is dead. The season still has 82 games in it.
Being a hockey player is a big deal, but in one very important aspect, it is just like any other job: You don't stop working, just because you got your two weeks notice.
That's just no way for anyone to go out.
Hope to see you at the Sunday Matinee. Go Jackets!
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