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Blue Jackets Links

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.
  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    One of the reasons (aside from growing up a Leafs fan) that I am really hoping the Rangers get bounced out in the 2nd round is that I think Don Maloney could be THE GUY. A lot of people in NYC who I've talked to think he's been the driving force behind the team in the past few years, and I think that's exactly the kind of energy we need in Columbus.

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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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