Yes, you read that correctly. That was not the terrified, “AAAAAGHHHH!!! ROAD TRIP!!!”
That is actually a sigh of relief.
Yes, it's true, the Jackets are not historically the best road team in the NHL. However, let's continue. The home crowd is booing. You pretty much only want to hear that when you're on the road and the home crowd is either booing you, or booing the home team because you are making them look bad on the ice.
The hope, of course, is that the performance of Curtis McElhinney, despite the shortcomings of the team in front of him, will push Sergei Bobrovsky to do better as the Blue Jackets look to get back on track.
That push, and some much better play by the team in front of him, could do just the trick to snap the entire team out of the funk that is hanging over them like a storm cloud.
Throw out the extensive history of road futility. Throw out the 0-6 record. Now.
It's time to rewrite the script, and not just because the current script of lackluster goaltending, bad line changes, penalties, turnovers and their consequences is more terrifying than anything you’ll see in the theater.
Rewrite the script because this cast is just too compelling to not have a great story in front of it.
Of course, there are rumblings about potential changes. That happens. But that speculation can only be written by other people. Sure, it's “bulletin board material,” and it can be pretty motivational – but only this team can control the story that it writes this season moving forward.
The Jackets endured six games in nine days – they had never opened a season like that – and lost all six. They didn't get much of a break to prepare for tonight’s game against the Islanders, either.
Monday's practice no doubt involved working on fundamentals and working on the defense. And rightfully so.
Here's where the positives about a road trip come in:
Practice together on the ice. Off the ice, roomie up. Hang out. Team build. Talk hockey fundamentals as a team, absolutely. But, in smaller groups, talk about accountability and understanding that little lapses in that accountability can have disastrous consequences, as they have already.
Talk about what you, as an individual, are going to do better to contribute to the team.
Those first six games are the past.
Hit the road for Minnesota and Colorado this week, and then New Jersey and Washington next week, before returning home for Halloween.
Apropos to the upcoming holiday, it’s time for this team to make the rest of the league remember what made it downright scary late last season.
But, first and foremost, get a win at home tonight and show the home crowd the team that they have missed since last spring. And make them pine for your return on Oct. 31st.