Bring back the fun.
|Rick Tocchet, Mike Johnston, Jim Rutherford|
Bylsma did his best to keep the room loose. Jokes, games, puzzles. It wasn't enough. He lost the room. He lost the team. He lost. He's gone. Ray Shero, the architect of all you see before you, is gone. The fun left long before they did.
The new men in charge, Jim Rutherford and Mike Johnston, are tasked with something more than Bylsma and Shero were. Fans don't just want the Cup. The fans want fun. The fans want to feel the weight of expectations off of their shoulders, too. They want more.
It's up to Rutherford and Johnston to deliver.
The fun players, the jolly players, they didn't exist. Dupuis and Fleury brought levity. They also brought deep, deep discussion. They weren't allowed to just be funny, they were either over rated or under rated with no in-between.
The personalities that drew one in to the team were never replaced. It made watching difficult. While people watch for the name on the front of the jersey they root for the names on the back. Suddenly less of "those" players were around. Suddenly it became habit viewing. It became easier to miss.
Suddenly there was a disconnect, a void, an expanse. The magic, the fun, was gone. The things that drew fans to the team beyond city allegiance had vanished and never truly replaced. It led to a do or die attitude. The team wasn't fun to die with because the players were no longer fun to die with.
Will these players rekindle the flame and bring new life to the locker room to the team, and to the fans?
For Johnston and Rutherford it's not just about winning. It's now about winning back the fans. The ones who have grown complacent and stagnant, much as the teams under Bylsma and Shero were. For the front office it now becomes a heavier burden than one ever faced by their predecessors.
It's not just bring back the Cup.
It's time to bring back the fun.