The recent massive overhaul of the Columbus Blue Jackets staff, although still in its infancy after only a half-season last year, is already starting to show promise. Last year was an attitude adjustment, and it is carrying over to this season. The combination of John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen has created the presence of a super-group within the ranks of the Blue Jackets front office.
They do not move quickly, they move steadily. They do not make rash decisions; they make concise and well thought out executions of their plans, which all fosters the brick-by-brick mentality first set forth by Davidson. The signing of Nathan Horton, and the re-signing of Sergei Bobrovsky are shining examples of their patience and ability to negotiate and make well-timed moves.
Now, training camp is upon us, and the aforementioned super-group along with Todd Richards and the coaching staff are going to have a few more big decisions to make. A slew of young talent from across the Blue Jackets organization and beyond, along with Blue Jacket veterans, make up the 58-man training camp roster. For most of them, being invited to participate in an NHL camp is a dream come true. Unfortunately, for some of the young talent, all good things must come to an end. The first set of roster cuts are coming, and they are expected to happen very soon.
Some of the decisions will be easy to guess, but be ready to see a few surprises. The Jackets organization has not had this much depth, especially at defense, at their disposal for a long time, or possibly ever. Some two-way contracts for defensemen have already been inked recently such as Blake Parlett and Patrick McNeill who will be called up when needed, most likely in the case of an injury.
The hard work and gritty attitude that has been shown in the first pre-season games should be making Jackets fans very happy. It is that very attitude that the front office and management are striving for, and they are getting it much faster than had been expected. Any long-time Jackets fan would take an overtime win against Pittsburgh any day, pre-season or not.
Last night’s split-squad games were interesting with the veterans losing at home against Buffalo, and the younger guys in Minnesota beating the Wild 3-1.
Excellence breeds excellence, and setting that mentality within the brick wall that is being built will change the attitude, the face and the reputation of this club.
Last year, the country club cards were all turned in. This year, they are being replaced with membership cards to the bricklayers union, the Local 614.