Using The Blue Jackets As A Measuring Stick

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Faceoff. Goal. Fist bump bench. Repeat. (Courtesy: Christopher Pasatieri)

We only play the Columbus Blue Jackets once a year. They have never been a good team. Aside from Rick Nash, they have no other big name players that we look forward to seeing during our annual meeting (Jeff Carter was hurt). But when you look at this years result compared to last years, there is a lot to learn from it.

October 25, 2010

Going into the game, the Flyers were a pedestrian 3-4. Coming off an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, the expectations for the team were high. Yet the results were less than spectacular. Heading into the game against Columbus, the Flyers were expected to come away with an easy 2 points. Instead, they walked away with a 2-1 loss in which they looked terrible. By all accounts, including the coach’s, they simply looked flat.  They didn’t hustle, or execute, or seem to care one bit. They expected that the win would just come to them. Instead, they left the game completely embarrassed.

However, that turned into a major turning point for the team. When looking back at that game, it showed us a lot about their mentality. After that game, something clicked. There were player meetings, probably a few arguments, and the team seemed to change. The Flyers began dominating, and imposing their will on everyone in their path. They won their next 5 games, including a few blowouts.  And they kept winning, and winning, until they climbed to the top of the mountain. For a few months, we thought that this game had taught them a valuable lesson. We thought that this team had realized they had the talent to win a Cup, and all it took was the right amount of effort and dedication. There was no way they should ever lose to basement dwellers. However, we saw cracks in that theory along the way. Prior to the holiday break, there was a 5-0 loss to Florida. When they came back from a few days off, they still weren’t into it, and got jacked up 6-2 by Vancouver. And as the season moved along, the team got complacent, which eventually lead to them getting bounced easily by a Boston Bruins team with a lot more heart.

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