Hockey fans don't hear of this too often, nor will many of us ever see it again.
The Blue Jackets coaches did not run practice today in Ottawa. Head coach Ken Hitchcock stuck around long enough to apparently alert captain Adam Foote of the proceedings.
According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch
, Hitchcock used a strategy similar to this when he coached in Dallas. The coach also said on his weekly radio show today that the tactic worked fairly well, and it certainly grabs the attention of the players. I'd say.
If this doesn't serve as a wake-up call to the Blue Jackets, not much else will. Save for a few "adios" text messages come next Tuesday. Their lethargic plod through the sixty minutes of last night's 3-1 loss to Toronto should be enough motivation for them, and after seeing the road ahead (Thursday in Ottawa, Saturday in Montreal), if I'm a Blue Jacket, I want to straighten myself out.
There comes a moment in the season (and it's usually around this time) that the players acknowledge the time of year. It's February 20, and that leaves only six days until the trading deadline. These guys travel together, live together on the road and have certainly formed friendships with eachother throughout the season. Wouldn't you want to keep your good friends around?
It's a matter of playing for each other, and they've yet to figure it out.
In my view, Hitchcock did the right thing today. He's pulled every rabbit out of his coaching hat this season, and the results are the same. Doing something unique and shocking might be what his team needs to wake up.
According to multiple reports today, centers Sergei Fedorov and Michael Peca appear to be the current darlings of the Ottawa Senators. General manager Bryan Murray undoubtedly has an interest in Fedorov, and Peca fits the role that Murray is looking for: a smart and dependable two-way center.
Could the Blue Jackets acquire Antoine Vermette in return? He can play any of the forward positions and has a bright future as a two-way player. Can you say, "tailored for Hitch?"
REMINDER: Don't forget about tonight's "Fire the Cannon" podcast featuring Blue Jackets analyst Danny Gare, who will be calling in from Ottawa. Send in your questions to me or Eric, or use the call-in information to join us live starting at 7 pm.