Friday, February 15, 2013

(New) Dawn In Columbus

Welcome to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Version…

... say, what version of the Blue Jackets are we up to, anyway??

Do we count the by the season, so that this is 12.0? Do we count it by the GM, so that the CBJ just wrapped up version 2.5.1? How do we tell updates from upgrades? What algorithm version are we using?

I guess however we choose to look at it, I guess we should just count this as another fresh start for the Columbus Blue Jackets. John Davidson's hiring of Jarmo Kekalainen on Wednesday is no doubt momentous.

Not necessarily momentous, as in, "I'm going to go downtown and start scouting some BITCHEN seats for the Stanley Cup parade this year... but this is a pretty freaking big deal. As with any big change in leadership, president of hockey operations John Davidson wiped the slate clean by letting go of Scott Howson and bringing in "his guy" (well... that and the fact that Howson was no longer effective, obviously). That's business.

Will this make a difference on the ice? Meh, who knows? How much impact can a new guy in a suit have on a hockey team? Hiring a GM is a long-term decision... Kekalainen's job is to help build a team that will perennially contend, and that doesn't happen overnight.

Still, if you're a player... new boss coming to town, you like Columbus because it's a great place to live... I don't know, maybe the chance to prove yourself to someone who's probably a little more qualified then the last guy lights a fire under your ass.

Ah, it's probably too soon to tell. No big deal... it's not like anyone is writing off the Blue Jackets this year...

...well, not anyone who isn't named Aaron Portzline, anyway.

The CBJ Twitterati set the Internet ablaze with less-van-favorable feedback, after Portzline led his Howson firing story in the Dispatch with "Well on their way to a fourth-straight losing season…. "

Now, why shouldn't CBJ fans be upset? After all, this is par for the course for Portzline. I wwouldn't be surprised if there was a drinking game for every tweet that Portzline put up last year that shared some sort of dismal, depressing statistic or streak involving the Jackets. We would all be watching this year's games from Betty Ford.

Conversely, why should CBJ fans be upset? After all... this is par for the course for Portzline. He's reporter. He's not paid to be a fan, he's paid to be impartial. Every writer has a voice, and his is... well, dreary. He has been watching this team too long, that's all.

Imagine being a beat reporter for the Browns. Or being assigned to cover Tony Romo any time there's a clutch situation. See what I mean?

I don't know him, and I've never met him. I'm sure as hell not defending him... the guy bums me out, too.

Now, are the Jackets en route to a fourth-straight losing season? Is Aaron Portzline right?

Of course not.

Yet.

Writing this team off after an effort like Monday's is absolutely asinine -- as foolish as... well, scouting seats downtown for this year's Stanley Cup parade. Assuming they'll turn it around after one game is equally foolish, especially when the next six games are on the road, including two on the West Coast and three in the Central. There is not one "gimme" game in there... just games in which Monday's kind of effort just might be enough to win, or fall just short enough.

Points in each game is a lofty goal... getting to .500 by the end of Feb. 24 is improbable. Get to just under .500 might be more realistic.

Blow this road trip entirely, however... this could be a long week and a half.

And the last thing we want is for Aaron Portzline to be right.

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