It gives me great pleasure to be part of the Union Blue team and what better way to celebrate this great new site than to celebrate the signing of one Derek Dorsett to a three year contract extension that keeps him in Union Blue.
Suffice it to say that he of the #DD and #becausehesawesome hashtags is well deserving of this in my mind (but you all know this). I have been a long standing Dorsett fan and have proudly carried the flag to bring fan attention to #15 for some time.
Much has been made of Dorse’s progress this year. He has gone from a scrappy fourth liner viewed as being dispensable to an integral part of the team who is now confirmed to continue to bring his fire and dedication to the ice in Columbus. I’ve already written earlier this year about his progress against the previous complaints lobbed against him but, I would like to celebrate some of the very things that have made Dorse invaluable this year and have resulted in career stats in PIM (also league leader) and goals scored. Because, when it comes to many of the frustrations that have been expressed this year about the CBJ, DD can refute most of them:
Commitment. In a season marred by players coming and going (or about to be going) Derek is a guy who’s “all in” for Columbus. He plays at 110% every second he is on the ice and he stays in Columbus most of the year. Many have spoken to a lack of identity of the team and, as I view the coming season as a valuable opportunity to cement a true definition of who the Blue Jackets are, I am tremendously grateful that men like Derek (and Vinny, and Wiz and Jack) are here – cementing the spirit of commitment, of dedication, of enthusiasm for the game (the BLUE JACKETS GAME) and….
Work Ethic. Many have questioned heart and effort of the team. They reference career low performances. What better counterpoint could we offer to these issues than a guy who did nothing but IMPROVE this past season. Dorse cited the influence of Vinny Propsal, put his head down and DID WORK. We saw the results in more controlled play and better chosen penalties (except Chicago and really, let’s discount that one because at least SOMEONE showed they were as pissed off as we were that day), leadership on-ice, improved skills and increased goals. Oh. And remember that ankle injury? yeah. Well…Dorse can’t be bothered with injury ;)
Team. Let us not forget the infamous Anaheim game February 12 when Brass fought behind the goal during a losing campaign. Bill Davidge (and I’ve searched for a citation and I can’t find it) said in frustration that until this team starts playing for one another, we weren’t going to start winning (sic). I agreed vehemently with this statement then and now. Dorse has always been the type of player to stand up for his team. He “gets” team – he knows what it means and he’s leading by example. The resulting award of the “A” on the #15 jersey only speaks to the impact he can make in the eyes of the organization as well. A well deserved recognition and one that I strongly enDorse carrying on into 2012.
On Ice Play. All effusiveness aside. It cannot be denied that Dorsett has made tremendous strides in his hockey game. Dorsett started only 35% of his shifts in the offensive zone – the lowest among forwards and 29th out of 30 CBJ players. He was one of the most trusted defensive players this season and still had a career high season while being put in a highly defense-focused role. He also was one of only seven Blue Jackets players who helped generate more scoring changes for versus against – it would appear that our team is wise to engage him in the defensive role in game. Dorse improved offensively, and became more of a player who killed penalties than one who just initiated them.
Ultimately – they type of player that Derek Dorsett is provided the perfect anti-thesis for the frustrations of this past season. He provides us with a continued glimmer of hope of what can be here in Blue Jackets country and he has elevated his game, and his role on the team to one such that he can be a key part of making this team all that we ALL want it to be.
Ensuring Derek Dorsett remains a Blue Jacket makes me proud – and I am so very happy to have him stay in Union Blue – its great to see that the organization agrees!