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Blue Jackets Links

Candidacy 2007: Jim Clark & Don Boyd.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The interview process for the new General Manager should be starting up sometime soon, and it's been pretty widely accepted that the very first two candidates to get a stab at meeting with the Jackets' ownership and new president Mike Priest are two of the team's own executives: Jim Clark, who is obviously known for being the Jackets' Assistant GM since the beginning, and Don Boyd, who is the director of player personnel.

While it's generally agreed by most writers I've seen covering this process that the interviews given to Boyd and Clark are token actions more than anything, it's worth pointing out that at least some people out there are saying to not outright discount either of them. Or at least Clark's possibilities as the new general manager, as said by MSG and New York Ranger writer Stan Fischler in his blog, The Maven.

Then again, Regier, et al, could very well be candidates for the Columbus opening; unless Ken Hitchcock takes over as GM-coach. If Hitch doesn't assume the dual roles Columbus ownership would be wise not to look too far. Assistant GM Jim Clark would be a perfect complement to Ken Hitchcock. Clark is a great judge of talent.

With all due respect to Stan's opinion, there are some serious concerns I have about Clark taking on the mantle of general manager for the Jackets. The three most pertinent questions I would have to ask about such a choice would be:

You've been with this organization since the beginning; haven't you had a hand in many of the team's trade/drafting decisions as Assistant GM?
The thing is, Jim -- it can be reasonably assumed -- has been involved in several of the decisions that ex-GM Doug MacLean made. Trades such as Sergei Fedorov for Francois Beauchemin, or free agent signings such as Anson Carter, just to name a few more fresh choices made by the people in the hockey operations and front office.

You've followed MacLean from Detroit to Florida and then to Columbus; shouldn't that worry us that you'll just be another Doug MacLean?
This one really worries me. If you look at his bio on the Blue Jackets' website, you'll see that he pretty much followed MacLean from team to team in some capacity or another. And honestly, I feel that this is more than just a coincidence. Worse, this leads me to believe that many decisions that Clark might make would be representative of what he's "learned" -- and I use that term loosely -- from MacLean. What this team needs right now is someone who is not cut in the same mold as MacLean was.

Just how much of a hand have you had with the Syracuse Crunch and Dayton Bombers over the years?
I didn't really consider this until I saw how Clark's biography touted how much involvement he supposedly has with both of the Blue Jackets' minor league affiliates. The bio enjoys pointing out how both teams have had success under Clark, who apparently handles hockey operations for both teams.

But hold on. If he handles that, then what are the general managers for these other teams doing? I am assuming that Vance Lederman (Crunch GM) and Don MacAdam (Bomber GM/Coach) are doing more than just taking orders from Clark.

The reason I ask this, anyway, is because this would have an impact on just how much experience he has had when handling the reigns of a team or two, even if in an unofficial or detached capacity. Also, while his biography touts the fact that both the Bombers and Crunch have had their most successful seasons under Clark's watchful eye, it's worth pointing out that the Bombers have still only made it to the Kelly Cup Playoffs 3 out of 7 times during their affiliation with the Jackets, and the Crunch didn't even qualify this season for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Though to be fair, the Crunch were extremely depleted all season long due to a massive amount of call-ups the Jackets made (including more permanent call-ups such as Geoff Platt and Marc Methot).

But in any event, I have my doubts about Clark being given the role of GM beyond just an interim basis. Frankly, I feel it'd be a mistake, especially now when the Jackets need to look for fresh blood ... or at least someone who has experience, but does things differently compared to the last seven years.


Sunday, April 22, 2007
I'd been looking for a reason to post this music video, and the Devils winning their opening playoff round and moving on to the next one gave me the perfect excuse. Remember that I grew up my whole life in New Jersey, and while I am now a true, Blue Jackets' fan ... that doesn't mean I don't take a glance back home to see how the team which first introduced me to hockey as a young'n is doing.

(What did we learn from this, class? Electrocution + "pride" stomping = death)

As you can see, this video is a prime example of what is about to happen to those pathetic Ottawa Senators. The Senators? Weak, frail, and scared of once again choking in the playoffs against a team which dispatched them in dramatic fashion during the 02-03 season. Here we see the sub-conscious representation of the Senators in the mind of their fans, who are always scared they'll fail:

Meanwhile, the Devils are powerful! Strong! Eeeevil! They know how to manhandle their opponents, and will crush the Senators pride (among other things) with unbridled rage! Here we see the sub-conscious representation of the New Jersey Devils, who their fans know are both intimidating and ruthless:

Count your blessings, Sherry! The Senators are going down!

(Hah! Like I said, I just wanted an excuse to post this video. It just plain cracked me up when my friend sent me it earlier this week.)

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Let's try that again, people! Columbus Blue Jackets, take two! ... aaaand action!

Thursday, April 19, 2007
Looks like I'm the last one to have anything to say, huh? That seems pretty fitting, considering I've been as sporadic as all get-out with posts until now. But before I get in to my own thoughts about the news that Doug MacLean has finally been fired, here are several links to the numerous blog posts and op-eds that have already been churned out in the first several hours ...

And that probably fills the quota for media recognition the Blue Jackets were required to get for the rest of the off-season.

It's really hard to think of anything to say when everyone else out there has already covered all the bases. But to me, there is one big thing that I really do believe that MacLean's firing will do for the fans of the Blue Jackets' out there in Columbus, and wherever else they may be:

It'll give them hope. It'll get them to hopefully come to games once again, as well. Regardless of whether or not MacLean's firing based on performance and personnel decisions was a good thing or a bad thing, just about anyone who I have spoken with, both on the street and even at work amongst co-workers, has expressed displeasure with MacLean's general managing abilities. This should be a testament to the fact that if MacLean had been held over for at least another year, this city may well could have given up on this team.

Doug's dismissal could be considered a sacrifice, of sorts, to appease the vast majority of Jackets' fans and followers who needed something to grasp on to for the future. Something to let them know that ownership cares, and that this team cares about its fans, and wants them to come to Nationwide Arena once again as this team tries to be re-born under new management, new coaching, and ... well, pretty much new everything.

Will this have an effect for better or worse on ticket sales, season ticket renewal, and the like? I'd say it'll be mixed. In my opinion, the dismissal of MacLean will probably act as a gauze pad to a pretty nasty wound; in essence, don't expect anywhere near a 100% renewal rate, but also don't expect some catastrophic nosedive in attendance next season, either. Will there be a "sharp decline" in sales like Aaron Portzline's sources are saying? Now that MacLean's been fired, I'd like to believe it won't be as bad as the picture being painted makes it seem. Then again, with David Paitson manning ticket sales and now at the forefront of the ticket price raise due to the loss of money this season, I could be wrong.

Speaking of Paitson, as well as other front office executives, how far down the chain will the ripple effect of MacLean's dismissal go? Portzline has already reported that several executives, notably Jim Clark (Assistant GM), Don Boyd (director, player personnel), Paul Castron (director, amateur scouting), and Bob Strumm (director, pro scouting), are likely to stay on board for now. What about other executives? Portzline focuses on the hockey operations group, but since MacLean was both General Manager and President, and more or less centralized power throughout his time in Columbus, he had a hand in most everyone else's front office employment, such as Paitson, Paul D'Aiuto (VP, Corporate Development), Marc Gregory (VP, Marketing), and Larry Hoepfner (Senior VP, Business Operations).

But I ramble, and I speculate, and I am probably asking questions that are way too early to be considered.

Either way, there is just over two months before the NHL Draft here in Columbus (which I am still working my ass off to try and prepare some sort of get-together for, my lack of updates be damned!). But at the same time, many venues are probably closed when it comes to possible GM candidates due to the fact that numerous candidates are on teams amidst playoff runs. Jim Nill (Assistant GM, Detroit), Steve Tambellini (Assistant GM, Vancouver), Don Maloney (Assistant GM, New York Rangers), Bob Murray (VP of Hockey Operations, Anaheim) are all most likely off-limits until their respective teams peter out from the playoffs, and even then it's a matter of being given permission by their respective teams to speak with these candidates, too.

Regardless of all this, the future does look bright in Columbus. It might (and most likely will) take one more season before any sort of real turnaround may be seen, but it'll be worth it. It will so be worth it.

A blogging season in retrospect: 2.5 stars ouf of 5.

Sunday, April 08, 2007
After about a day's retrospect, I think I've come to the conclusion that after my first year blogging on the Blue Jackets, I have a long way to go before I can start to consider myself any good.

Let me preface this now by saying that I have a lot of experience with writing, but not when it comes to blogging. For years, I was and have been an avid writer, and so my repertoire of useful words, combined with my ability to keep my thoughts flowing, was always my saving grace. I also like to believe I have quite the creative mind, so I was never for want of new thoughts or a cure to writer's block.

But the thing is that when I was writing stories, it was all a matter of coming up with things without any real grounds in reality. Or rather, I wasn't limited to recounting events. With Army of the Ohio, I'm put in a position where I must be professional, must be on-topic and accurate with my comments, and everything I write about is far from a work of fiction (though I certainly hope the dismissal of Doug MacLean becomes fact soon -- very soon).

So it's taken me some time to sort of grasp at the learning curve involved in blogging. For that, I apologize. In all honesty, I feel pretty bad about the extremely heavy lull that happened near the final part of the season. I found myself really grasping at straws, trying to figure out what to comment on, save for the same ol'-same ol' Blue Jackets' losses, with the occasional win tossed in here and there.

I realized sometime while I was out bowling last night with some friends (yes, I think about blogging and what I want to write about even when I'm bowling perfect games ... I'm just that cool), that one of the big issues was that I lacked any sort of schedule. Any sort of outline for what I want to write about. True, many bloggers out there just go with their gut, and pretty much post the second something hits them, or just out of responsibility because their team had played a game.

But I think I need to do something more. I feel like I need to try and set up some sort of schedule for when to expect certain types of posts out of me. Podcasts, weeks in review, upcoming games, commentaries and opinion posts ... you know, all that stuff. I tend to get overwhelmed at times because I don't know what I want to touch on in the next post.

Over the off-season (which starts for me and the Blue Jackets now, of course), I am going to try and implement a decent range of changes, a more stable posting schedule, and some minor tweaking of the blog layout (yes, again) over the summer. Just to give an example of some things ...

-Set up a specific schedule for 'special' posts. Special posts, of course, being things like my podcasts, or more in-depth perspectives on things such as statistics (the time I reviewed which referees were the most penalty happy around the Jackets, for example).

-Make up a better, uniform method for pre/post-game posts. The repetitive posting of team logos -- and most notably the Jackets' logo, despite this being a CBJ blog -- turned out to be a hassle, a waste of space, and other issues also grated on my nerves about the way I made pre-games. Post-games were hodgepodges of ... stuff, and were frustratingly scarce in the latter half of the season.

-Finish overhauling Army of the Ohio's layout. When I hit that roadbump with the header, I just sort of gave up in impatience of how annoying it was trying to turn a pre-made template in to something that it was never created to be. While I was able to grasp how to make new tables, I was never able to figure out how to make the header better, let alone able to make a proper banner. Additionally, alignment of certain things seemed off ... and I am regretting the choice of making the font size for posts so small (size 8 Arial). These are all things I need to resolve.

-Quickly complete the NHL Draft post. Time is really not on my side, with under two months to go before the NHL Draft comes to Columbus. I still need to figure out if even setting up a gathering is feasible. Be that through a poll, or by asking some of the bigger blogging heads if they could sample their readers or other bloggers who regularly check their blogs to see if they're motivated to go to the draft or not, and think they'll actually go. I also need to again try and hammer things out with End of the Bench about what we should do. Drew deserves all the credit for coming up with this idea in the first place, and so when you do see this, get back to me so we can try and figure out what the frell to do.

-Clean up entry tags. Sort of related to the uniform method of posting, I seriously need to find some sort of way to better place tags. That would take nothing more than a quick run through of all my posts and a thought or two about the best words to use for each post. No big deal right now.

Anyway, all of this is just a bunch of samples of things that I do need to work on, off the top of my head.

I need to do some things off the computer now, however I hope to have time to touch on the newest revelations in the Doug MacLean saga sometime tomorrow; especially now that both Bob Hunter and Michael Arace have come out with guns blazing in commentaries on the same day, all but boxing GMDM in to a corner. All I can say about it right now?

This is going to be one helluva rest of the month, even without a playoff berth to be excited about.

Goodbye, and see you again.

Saturday, April 07, 2007
Say goodbye to the CBJ logo and font type, being retired as of this off-season:

Say goodbye to Nationwide Arena, which will not be hosting any more Jackets' games until the pre-season in September:

Say goodbye to the 2006-2007 regular season, which saw some highs, but also tragic lows:

Simply said, say goodbye ... and see you next season, Blue Jackets.

(Created by CBJ media and video guru Skraut, who deserves a job with the organization for all of this amazing music videos done to the Blue Jackets.)

(Don't worry, you don't have to say goodbye to
me. I actually have something planned for tomorrow.)

Podcast of the Ohio - Podcast #2.

Friday, April 06, 2007
Don't worry. I'm still alive. I'd like to thank a friend of mine who inspired me to come back from the dead before I let more than a week pass before posts! Today, I'm tossing out another podcast. This one's a bit shorter than the previous one, but the topic is still rather important: Doug MacLean, and the current speculation about his job.

Incidentally, I'd just like to say this to the Nashville Predators after we, the Blue Jackets and loyal fans (who rank 18th in attendance despite our poor on-ice product), devoted a full minute to Mike Modano's recent achievements as an American-born hockey player last night at Nationwide:

Go crash and burn in the first round now, kthx. :D

(Speaking of classiness (or lack thereof), how about the Flyers totally ignoring Martin Brodeur breaking the single season win record for a goalie? Doubly so because of the fact that former Flyer and record holder Bernie Parent had been giving Brodeur his blessings for at least a while now? Sounds like the Flyers could use a lesson or two about honoring achievements, too.)


Jackets Media

"Rick" Roll
Created by Skraut

About Me

Name: Michael
Home: San Tan Valley, Arizona, United States
About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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