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Claude Noel Brings Joy to the Room!

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

February 8

He is a simple man. He loves to talk. He is willing to open up and discuss his views and thoughts with anyone. He now is the Interim Head Coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is a winner. He has paid his dues in the ECHL and the American Hockey League, and has brought home plenty of hardware on an individual basis and the coveted Calder Cup with Milwaukee in 2004.

He has confidence in his abilities. He knows and preaches that sometimes less is more. He does not want to come in and overload the already busy minds of his players. Change has different results on different players. He knows his team. He wants his players to be loose, and feel good about themselves before he delves into the X's & O's in team concepts. His message through the first two games is to sell the players on efficient work. This work will be characterized by being smart and hard in nature.

He expects the players too work up to speed and come to the rink each day with their legs and their brain. He wants to roll four lines. He would like to use three sets of defenseman. He would like his team to have pace in their game, but in the process, he wants them to have fun. He wants their mind clear and wants them to return to their love of hockey once again.

He compares his coaching responsibilities to parenting. To be a coach there is no manual that directs an individual to be a championship coach. There is no manual on how to be the best father. There is no perfect parent. It is the goal of a good parent/coach to develop the trust factor between son/player. Like in life, the true test of that relationship involves ability to handle adversity. A balance of winning and losing will develop this growth pattern, but as of late the losing has been out weighing the winning. His goal is to change that attitude in his team. He wants to help the team adjust to the new adversity if and when it hits the locker room.

He has won both games that he has coached. The team has skated, been responsible and helped each other in all three zones of the ice. He has initially changed the attitude of his team and especially the young contingent of players that look refreshed. He has brought in a "hard hat" mentality. The hard hat is a token rewarded to the player that exemplifies the qualities of "blue collar" mentality. Not always the player with the best stats on that given night, but the one that had a positive influence on his "winning" team. The first two winners have been Steve Mason and Mike Blunden.

Emotions run high today... tactics will be the flavor tomorrow, to be prepared for a team that would like to get up to "warp speed" in their approach to each game as the season dwindles down. As the development of this team improves it must take all the players to have both ears to the message. It is better to listen twice as much as one talks. Listening is a skill and Noel will teach one to listen, if that skill is lacking.

He is an interim coach. He has sent his message in a subtle manner. He has a consecutive win streak rolling now and wants a chance to succeed and desires the opportunity to be part of something special. He wants to be the Head Coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is off to a great start... Stay tuned!!!

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac's Blog," "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.

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