In a news conference yesterday, several players spoke, regarding the hiring of the next Blue Jackets Head Coach, Brad Larsen. It was revealed that several players attended the announcement, including, but not limited to, Merzlikins, Laine, Atkinson, Nyquist and many other players. Although many fans were not expecting Larsen to be named the next HC, due to Powerplay difficulties in recent years, this is a good sign. It shows that the players, both young and old, are behind the new Coach, and that is necessary for a team turn around.
Some may not realize, as I did not, how much history Larsen and Atkinson have. Years ago, Larsen was Atkinson’s Head Coach, when both were in the AHL. Small world, right? This explains Atkinson’s response, when questioned regarding the lack of success, in the Powerplay Larsen once coached for the club. “It’s ultimately the players that need to execute and get the job done. If anything we take blame, and we should, and we have.” (https://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/cam-atkinson-other-players-support-new-columbus-blue-jackets-coach-brad-larsen-6-11-2021.) Atkinson went on to explain how the team is ready to improve under the leadership of their new coach. Further, he reminded fans that every team has its triumphs, and downfalls. All of this is true.
I also do not wish to speculate wrong again, however, even with Larsen and his history, as coach and player, this makes me wonder if another decision has been made. Seth Jones has already expressed his decision to leave, after this next 2021-2022 season. So, could we be seeing the next Captain, stepping into his role already? Maybe.