Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"It's not tank time" say Hitch and MacLean

Michael Arace of the Dispatch discusses what's next for the Jackets. Despite the fact that this stage of the season that we're in (read: not even maybe going to the playoffs) is susceptible to taking losses to better a team's position in the draft, Hitch and MacLean insist that we won't be seeing that in Columbus.

Good. As much as I like to see great draft picks, I don't think a top pick is going to give the Jackets any better chances next year. Columbus has had their share of good picks in the past- think Nash, Zherdev, and Klesla, for starters, but those guys aren't going to get the team straight into the playoffs. Granted, none of these players have done the kind of damage that Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin have done, but I don't see even a number one pick as a ride out of the basement. Nash didn't do it, and he even won the Rocket Richard trophy.

It's been made clear that Ken Hitchcock has a "system". He runs his team in a particular way, one that is not always so agreeable by players. I would be more interested in MacLean giving Hitch more control over who the team signs this offseason, as well as during the trade race before the upcoming deadline.

It's crucial that the coaches and staff not tank the team. They need to continue to drill the players, rookies and veterans alike, in Hitch's system and make sure they're all on the same page for next season. If the team can continue to make adjustments and win, they'll become believers, and the team will be that much farther ahead next fall.

Besides, if I was under the impression that all this team wanted was a draft pick, I wouldn't spend the money to sit in the arena. Nationwide has already had a lot fewer sell-outs than previous seasons (at least that's how it seems) and no team wants to throw out that kind of fan support.

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