Friday, March 5, 2010
Blue Jackets' Umberger prime example of what is wrong with team
Recent comments by Columbus Blue Jackets' interim head coach Claude Noel that his team needed to significantly improve their fitness level did not sit well with many of the players, especially center R.J. Umberger. Umberger was so upset with the comments that it prompted Noel to apologize to his team for publicly criticizing them. In my opinion, it is players like Umberger, who immediately go on the defensive when called out by their coaches, that exemplify everything that is wrong with the Blue Jackets. Former head coach Ken Hitchcock tried to toughen up this band of "softies", but when he failed, it was time for him to be shown the door. Hockey is a very physically demanding sport, and it takes someone who is not only physically tough, but also mentally and emotionally tough to succeed in the NHL. Umberger, rather than use Noel's statement as incentive to fire up his teammates, instead takes Noel's comments personally and goes on the defensive. I have no problem with what Noel said, and I believe he should never had to make an apology. He was no doubt trying to motivate his team. And until someone else inside the Blue Jackets locker room starts to get thicker skin and give his teammates a figurative "kick in the rear", Columbus will continue to be a supbar professional hockey team.