Here we Go!
Well with a less than sparkling season now over it was time for the Jackets to do some "splaining". At the season ticket chat with Hitch things were less than jovial. Questions came in at a fast pace and Hitch was nothing if not sincere. He was quick to let us know that he was disappointed with Zherdev's terrible season saying that Zherdev does not trust anyone and that he has to learn how to play as a teammate. When asked about Fedorov playing the blueline Hitch responded,
"we've had his dad out to dinner and his brother out to dinner but Sergei wants to play center". I am not sure that a team that scored at such a slow pace should take a hall of fame scorer like Fedorov and move him to the D. Losing his faceoff ability and his possible 80 points per season seems like a desperate move. Not to mention the fact that he had to play with two players who did not perform well this year, in Nash and Zherdev. Hitch is a great coach but this seems to be jumping the gun on the end of Fedorov's scoring ability. With a stable line to play with and some chemistry I think that Fedorov will regain some of his scoring prowess. Hitch was also very adamant that all players will be required to use the Jackets' offseason workout program. Hitch thought that at least six players were not in shape last season when he took the reins of this team. As for those players that don't show up in shape for the new season, Hitch made it clear that any player that doesn't arrive to camp in shape "won't be playing at home during the preseason." Letting fans know this may provide some added motivation to all the players. As for the Free Agent market Hitchcock was clear that the Jackets need 5 players to come in for 2 to 3 years until the young players can replace them. Hitchcock also mentioned that he would be taking the high road about bringing young players up to get experience, instead choosing to let them mature in the minors. In goal his words for Norrena and LeClair were "good not great". All in all the meeting was very straightforward and Hitch seemed to give the impression that this team would not be ready to compete for the cup for about three years. As for the players that he would be looking for experience was a must. Sorry I couldn't provide Jackets fans with more exciting news but maybe our core will play better next year.