Jackets hitch a new coach

CBJWe know that MotSaG has been remiss in covering the CBJ as well as we would have liked to. It’s just that recently there’s been this other team in Ohio that has taken up most of our blogging space.

kenHitchcockIt was announced yesterday that Captain Kangaroo Ken Hitchcock has been hired as the new coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hitch replaces interim coach Agnew, who replaced long-time coach Gerard Gallant last week.

<SARCASM>However, at least Doug MacLean is still with the organization.</SARCASM>

Hitch will coach his first game Friday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, the organization that fired him earlier this season.

I think it’s a step in the right direction. Hitchock is known as a hard-nosed disciplinarian, and if there’s one thing the Jackets need, it’s a kick in the pants. On Wednesday, Anson Carter was interviewed by Columbus sports radio station 1460 TheFan. Carter was asked about the pathetic 2006 season, and was unusually honest. Paraphrasing, he said that he understands the need for a coaching change, but holding one or two people accountable isn’t going to fix things. “The entire team needs to be held accountable,” said Carter. “There’s too many players missing practices on a regular basis.”

He didn’t elaborate on which Jackets were skipping practice *coughZherdevcough*, but if that’s true, then hopefully Hitch can set some new expectations. He’s won 408 of 750 games, including a stretch with the Stars that earned the 1999 Stanley Cup.

“Any one of you punks who miss practice will have to deal with Mr. Green Jeans”

I was watching last night’s game (ugh, leading by a goal with a two man advantage, and they still managed to find a way to lose) and Hitchcock was interviewed during the second period. He said all the things that Jackets fans needed to hear, about his goal to build winning lines first, and his philosophy of how the forward lines play for the defensemen, and the defensemen play for the goalie. Seemed to me that we might expect to see some major shakeups on the lines & pairings.

So a new era begins. I think it might be too late to make the playoffs this year, but we’ll take any improvement we can get. I wouldn’t say they’ve hit rock-bottom yet, but they’re close.

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