Columbus, OH –
By Rick Gethin
With just 14 games to go in the regular season and 8 points back from the 8th (and final) playoff position, the Columbus Blue Jackets still have an upbeat attitude about them. In deference to Yogi Berra, they know it ain’t over till it’s over.
They have at least one game in hand, if not more, on every team in front of them. That means nothing if they don’t win those games, though. They’ve proven that they can compete, and beat, any team in the Western Conference. They have the skill and the work-ethic; it’s been seen this season. The issue has been mainly mental, at least from where I sit. The slumps that they’ve gone through have seemed to coincide with them “over-thinking” the game.
When they go out on the ice and just “play their game”, they play with a relaxed confidence that sees them win more than they lose. This confidence is front and center with defenseman Kris Russell. As the season has wore on, he’s become more relaxed (confident) in head coach Scott Arniel’s system of uptempo hockey.