Pascal Vincent addressed the media Monday for the first time as the head coach of the Blue Jackets and addressed his process.
"I know that the process is what's going to bring wins at the end of the day," Vincent said. "So I'm really focused on the process. But in a simple way, let's put it this way, if they work hard, or the players work hard, that's going to be easy for them. If they don't, then we'll have some chats. But we're going to be working hard. We're going to be fast. We're going to be structured. We're going to be disciplined. And then we'll deal with the issues one by one, and we're gonna stay in the moment. That's my approach."
To end his availability, I asked him how he's going to convince Blue Jackets fans to stick with the process if the wins don't come right away.
Vincent said he spoke with assistant coach Jared Boll and said how amazed he was with the support from the fanbase and also gave a message to the fans.
"But what we realized is, if this team works hard and competes, they will support us," Vincent said. "And that's what we need to do. We need to compete. There's no other way to win hockey games. If you don't have that, you don't have anything. So we're going to compete and they're going to see it. I mean, words are cheap. I get it. But when they see us out there, they'll see it. We're going to compete, we're going to work hard, we're going to be structured, and they'll see that the team is improving. The goal is to win as many hockey games as possible, to make the playoffs, and from there who knows what's gonna happen. So that's what we're gonna try to do. There's nothing I can say today that can convince anyone. I want them to come here and watch us. That's how we're going to convince them."
This is a strong message from Vincent, whose sudden appointment came after Mike Babcock resigned Sunday following a joint investigation by the NHL and NHLPA into photo-sharing allegations.
Coming off of a season that saw the Blue Jackets finish with the second-worst record in the league, this team must be competitive in 2023-24. If their top players like Zach Werenski and Patrik Laine, who missed 69 and 27 games last season, respectively, stay healthy, it seems almost impossible that a significant improvement won't happen. Couple that with the additions of Adam Fantilli, Damon Severson, and Ivan Provorov, and the roster looks better than it did last year, at least on paper.
If the team plays the way Vincent described, it will be a team that fans are proud to come and support, whether or not they make the playoffs for the first time since 2020.