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Go West Young Men!!

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

December 3

They say if you go west there is still some gold to be found. The problem is you really have to dig deep to find it. One must put sweat above relaxation. One must put group efforts above individual accolades when you are able to strike it rich and find the wanted treasure. There are theories that can be tested and trained but one must be careful not to slide down the "dangerous slope" when panning for the ultimate prize… because when you work and you grind and you come up dry, the tendency is to question is this all worth it?

It is a "Man's Game" and it really takes a toll in getting to where you want to be - all of the rewards and satisfaction. It is a task of "inches not feet" in the process of claiming the wants. It is also one of "time and score." One should not evaluate success in minutes when on this dirty and greasy job, but in what do you have left in the tank when working towards that cause… and when you get there do not quit the process. "Hammer when the going is good" and let off the pounding when the times are really bad. Don't quit, but do not beat yourself up over not finding solace… finding buried treasure in the west is a task that many do not wish to take part… but we are looking for wins on this hockey team, as they are the treasure that will get us to the promised land of the post season. That is like gold!!

The CBJ are a team that is beginning to blend the chemistry needed to win games when sometimes they do not deserve it. Finally one such game fell on our laps against the Luongo-less Vancouver Canucks. This tilt demonstrated a goaltending performance that could be categorized as a "circus act." Steve Mason stole the show and performed up and beyond his 20 years. He has since been rewarded the "Rookie of the Month" in November. That is back to back awards for the CBJ as Brassard took the honor in October. This is the first time a team can brag about their rookie success since the tandem of Kovalchuk and Heatly did it in Atlanta.

A tid bit from Hitch:
It is interesting in listening to Hitch about the transition of the game in the past 15 years. Some that are associated with the game and the fans of the game talk about the trap positioned in the neutral zone as being the culprit to nullifying scoring. Hitch begs to differ. He feels the trailing back checker that is on his way back to assist the defense in the transition from offense to defense is the culprit. Teams at one time would lock and hold on to the offensive winger, causing a three abreast pattern as they entered the offensive zone. This allowed the secondary offensive flow to be available for options with the trailing winger or in most cases the weak side defenseman who become part of the play because of the space… so true… so the change… like zone defensive coverage, the first back checker would trail and remain in the middle of the ice which in turn takes away that space. For the offensive rush to be effective when it comes to options, this simple tactic of putting the trailer in the middle has caused all the confusion… how does one counteract that ploy?

P.S.… the "Hitchionary" can be credited with some of the terminology used in correlating the treasure hunt to three hockey games!

Stay tuned!!

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "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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