In the midst of all of tonight's hockey excitement (Habs come back against Bruins! Caps and Rangers score a million goals! Kovalchuk traded to the Devils!) I can't help but think about some of yesterday's news.
The Columbus Blue Jackets decided to part ways with coach Ken Hitchcock. It all sounds just a little bit familiar.
Per an NHL.com article:
Hitchcock led the Blue Jackets to the first playoff berth in franchise history last spring...
A team whose entry into the playoffs both surprised and excited their fanbase, the likes of which hadn't been seen in a very long time (or in this case, ever)?
The defense, usually a trademark of Hitchcock-coaches teams, has struggled -- and 2008-09 Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason hasn't matched last season's performance in goal.
A sophomore goaltender who wasn't putting up the same numbers he had as a rookie, numbers which catapulted him into the spotlight and caused his elder, former #1 goalie to be traded away?
"It's terrible news," Nash, the Jackets' captain, told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's terrible news. It's terrible we couldn't play better and the coach had to be fired..."
No other solution but to fire the coach of a team whose season has been, to say the least, disappointing?
Maybe it's just me, but this sounds an awful lot like last season's Canadiens. We'll have to see how - and when - Columbus turns around. Will the team need to clean house? Or has our example proved that a new roster might not always make the huge difference you hope it will?
In any case, I know one thing: Columbus can't have Brian Gionta. Sorry.