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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.
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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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