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3 Significant changes for the CBJ’s 2013-14 season

Welcome to September, the new season is just around the corner, but before we get into the training camp, the pre-season, or the season, I would just like to look at three significant changes that have occurred over the last year and what they mean for our team.

Moving to the East

The Jackets are now finally where we should have been all along, in the East. We are an Eastern time zone city, games starting at 7pm make sense, games starting at 10pm do not.

We are a lot closer to New York, Washington DC and Boston, than Los Angeles, Anaheim or Dallas. Whilst flying over the continent is good for collecting air miles on Bluejackets 1, it is not so good if you want your players to be in the best possible condition to play.

New Faces

Their have been significant changes to the roster, with particular attention paid to the offence. Ahead of the trade deadline the Jackets acquired Marion Gaborik in exchange for Brassard, Dorsett and John Moore. Sadly Brassard never quite lived up to his potential and although it was tough to see Dorse go, we now have a stellar forward in Gaborik and with the addition of Nathan Horton (once he becomes healthy) the Jackets will have a number of players that can score goals. Anisimov, Dubinsky, Horton (even with his limited playing time) should all be good for twenty goals a piece. Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert and Umberger all have the ability to have a twenty goal season. On the other side of coin we have a solid core of anchoring our defence, with Prout making a surprise impact and the possibility of seeing number 2 draft pick Ryan Murray this season, and of course Bobrovsky tending the net. It was not just the players that have changed. The management of the team has changed, with John Davidson taking over as president of Hockey operations in October, Jarmo Kekalainen joining in February. This has to be more than a re tooling, it is a re building ironically Nash got his wish, he is just not around to enjoy it

Self Belief

Yet along the way, their was a change that trumped all the above. Something more fundamental. Some where along the line, somewhere in that losing streak something changed, something happened, an undefinable but significant change, the desire to fight came back, the self belief. No one expected us to get out of the cellar, especially after the first month or so of play. Yet we did, somehow. The attitude of the team, the determination to play and win. Over the years the Jackets had been accused of not playing a full 60 minutes. Their would be periods of fantastic effort, of great plays, followed by a periods of lack lustre and uncoordinated effort. It might not be possible to pinpoint exactly where the change occurred, its effect is easier to see, we have gone from bottom of the league to playoff contender within two months. We have become a team that actually believes in themselves. That can have some wonderful effects, Horton has turned a chance to stay in Boston to come play of the Jackets, Bobrovsky turned down a more money in the KHL to stay with the Jackets. That tells me something. Something else to consider. As the point streak grew, as they moved up the rankings, so the support from the fans grow I have always believed that players will play better with a loud arena behind them. However sometimes it takes players playing well for the crowd to get loud. The question is how do you beat that catch 22 situation ? Just maybe we have. We are seeing a re emergence of the Jackets, of their self belief and more importantly their hunger.

The season is nearly upon us, whilst we may not have made it to the play-offs, we did have a lot of other things go in our favor last season. We are probably in one of the strongest positions we have ever been in heading into the the start of the new season. We have new players, new management and a renewed hunger. Nothing is beyond this team, the season coming up is ours to claim.

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