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How the West was Lost!

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

October 23

As we board the plane to Anaheim, a true disappointment has surfaced on a team that left Columbus last Sunday on a real high. Two losses to the Flames and the Oilers are now on the back burner, but the staff is still hot!!! Not just fuming in losing four points, but the manner in which the games were played continues to linger with all of us.

What really happened? Why did the CBJ fold up the tent and head to higher ground, when the river was in sight? The fast flowing water up stream in the Western Conference was flowing smoothly and without a paddle... but... the players felt a little discomfort in the way things were playing out so early in this season.

The players were getting away from sifting and the digging that produces the goals/prevention of goals. What was missing?

Solution!!!... check the compass!!! No really... check the compass!! North-South is the key to the treasure. What does that mean in layman's terms?... Work with diligence and purpose... Stop and start... Face the play and the puck... Shoulders square up ice. That takes one thing, and the word is effort.

Checking on all sides of the puck... fore-check... back check... means a pay check for those that have the tenacity to do it on a consistent basis!!! The simple things of the game need to have the focus of concentration for a period of 60 full minutes. That is the extent of a game and it takes all 19 participants to have success. It may be a coincidence that in both games the critical goal of the game arrived a little beyond the 13 minute mark of period two.

Why? In sport the first third of the game involves emotion and spontaneous action on behalf of the participant. The second third involves the basics of the game. In the game of hockey it involves checking, skating and constant, total physical and mental involvement in all three zones of the ice. It is called willing to pay the price. The third portion of the game extenuates the true skill of the competition and the players involved.

The last few nights it can honestly be stated that the price to be paid in the middle frame of the hockey game was absent. The flow of the game became too cute... too confident in the identity of who the CBJ's actually are... hard to play against is the motto, but fancy Dan showed up... blind passes, turnovers in the critical areas of the ice, penalties for no given reason, etc... etc.

But, it can easily be said that gold is in sight with this team. It can be mined effectively. It may take some effort and it may take some thought, but in the long run, the lessons learned on this prospecting trip to the west will prove to be a positive for later on as the season progresses.

As fans, don't fret, continue to be part of the solution as the team needs your extra pick and shovel to get the job done. Good bye Canadian west. Onward to "California Dreamin'"... there will be something that awaits the contentious group of CBJ's. The team is flying over the Rockies to the Pacific coast.

Stay tuned!!

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