First off, just to get it out of the way, I’ve complained for years that the Columbus Blue Jackets being stuck in the western conference was unfair. If you skipped your geography classes in school, Columbus, Ohio isn’t exactly bordering Arizona. We are located in the mid-west, less than a 3-hour drive to Pittsburgh. So while the Penguins were practically carpooling over to their rivals in the East, we were setting out on a voyage to Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and California just to play a 60-minute game. Ahh, just the thought of that 7-hour plane ride 12 times a year just makes you all warm and fuzzy inside. Games starting at 10 pm usually resulted in this writer crashed before the first offside.
Having said all that, however, leads me to this: stop using this as an excuse for poor play. I understand that brutal cross-country trips can be mentally, physically, and psychologically draining, but there’s another team that didn’t seem to mind it much: the Detroit Red Wings. I didn’t hear them complaining when they were eating cereal out of the Stanley cup on those warm summer mornings. They made those trips plenty of times and while, yes, I’m sure they would have rather been shacking up in NYC for an afternoon affair with the Rangers, their repeated trips to Anaheim and Edmonton didn’t stand in their way of winning. A lot. For many, many years.
Look, I practically did a back flip when I heard we were moving to the East. I was laughing all the way to the bank. (Does that apply here? I don’t know, I heard it once and it sounded good.) The eastern conference gives us ample more opportunity for success and relevancy in the league. But I warn fellow Columbus Blue Jackets lovers to slow down for a moment.
I truly believe that playing in the East will make us a better franchise. But stop blaming our troubles on our travels to the west coast. While we complained of sore backs and jet lag, the Wings were busy maintaining a winning franchise. Why didn’t those trips bother Detroit? Because they embraced them. For too many years we have let silly excuses stand in our way of progression. So I ask all of you: embrace our obstacles, progress east! (And if you MUST blame somebody for our bad times, there’s always Steve Mason).
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets