Just under three weeks ago, we started the 2011-12 season with a high level of optimism and positive energy following a summer of transformation and development for our hockey club. What has transpired since has felt like we – management, coaches, players and fans – have been punched in the gut.
No one saw this coming. We had a strong training camp with good results in the preseason. The only negatives coming out of September were the James Wisniewski suspension and injuries to Mark Dekanich and Jared Boll. As we prepared to take the ice on Opening Night vs. Nashville, we talked about the emotions we felt at this time of year. We talked about words like excitement, anticipation, hope and optimism.
The first three weeks have been extremely difficult for all of us. The responsibility for where we are lies with me, our management staff, coaches and players. It does not lie with Brendan Shanahan or the NHL or the officials. It is not about luck. The responsibility for getting us out of it lies also with us... all of us doing it together.
Our fans have been remarkably patient with our franchise. We understand the anger and frustration that has built up over the past decade makes this about more than just the present. All I can tell you is that we are working together to look for solutions every day.
I am an admirer of Bill Walsh and in his book “The Score Takes Care of Itself” he emphasizes that after any setback you have to tell yourself, “I am going to stand and fight again.” We can’t change the first eight games, but we will stand and fight starting tonight. We will focus on being the best we can be today and then being better tomorrow.
Ninety percent of our season remains and that is more than enough time to reach the goals we set for ourselves. We are bent, but not broken, and very determined to get back on track.
Thanks for your support of Blue Jackets hockey. Just a reminder, you can follow me on Twitter at @GMScottHowson.