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Arrr! A pirate's matinee movie for me!

Monday, May 28, 2007
Guess I took my sweet time updating this Monday, huh? Whoops! Well, I was out with a friend seeing a matinee showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, so I was a little preoccupied for much of the day. The movie? I liked it ... though it was hard to stay focused when the movie was just shy of three hours in length. That's just way too much for one sitting, especially when it's a sequel or part of a trilogy. That sort of length should be reserved for things like Saving Private Ryan, thank you.

So, a hybrid of revelations and speculation came out of the Dispatch over the weekend, when Aaron Portzline reported that the search had been seemingly narrowed down to four candidates. There are actually more than a couple surprises on such a small list, at least in my opinion.

First, there is the fact that Anaheim Ducks' Bob Murray is one of the final four. It isn't that he's not qualified, because he certainly is when you look at how much of a hand he has had in turning the Ducks into what they are alongside their GM Brian Burke. However it's the fact that he's still being considered even though the Ducks are still playing, meaning that for all intents and purposes, if he's the final choice, don't expect the Blue Jackets to go announcing their new GM until after the Stanley Cup Finals.

The other candidate from outside of the Blue Jackets organization is Neil Smith. Most people would probably recognize Smith's name due to the fact that he was involved in one of the weirder stories of the 2006-07 season, when Charles Wang -- owner of the New York Islanders -- handed him his pink slip after no more than 40 days on the job as Isles' GM. However in those 40 days, he was able to help lay the groundwork with some quick player shuffling and signings for the Islanders to ice a modestly good team, who surprised most everyone in the league when they clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference on the very last day of the regular season. Besides that, Smith was also the GM of the most recent Stanley Cup winning New York Rangers' team during the 1994 season, but remember that was way before the salary cap era, with a team which had plenty of money to use if it needed to.

Then comes the in-house candidates, which leaves me a little worried. Don Boyd, director of player personnel, and Interim GM Jim Clark both made the cut to round out the four candidates.

I've already expressed in previous entries my feelings about promoting from within the Jackets' organization. Michael Arace, in his blog, mused:

The in-house candidates, Clark and Boyd, don’t lack for legitimacy – they know this team, and, in different ways, they are intriguing – but it may be that they’re mentioned as finalists as a matter of good form. If you throw them out now, it’s something of a condemnation of the organization as it stands now.

Okay, fair enough. So maybe both Clark and Boyd had their names tossed out there for the sake of legitimizing the organization. But what I wonder is, if that is the case, do both need to be kept in the mix? While this "final four" label on these candidates is lax in terms of whether someone else can be added or removed from it (Portzline even says a name or two could be added to the list later), it probably leaves many a Jackets' fan -- myself included -- with a sense of dread that this so-called "organizational shake-up" will result in nothing but more of the same. Clark and Boyd might be unique people who are not Doug MacLean, but they were still a part of the very organization that's yet to even sniff a playoff berth, let alone a winning season.

There's still 25 days until the NHL Entry Draft comes to Columbus. The latest the Stanley Cup Finals could last is the 11th of June, leaving an 11 day cushion for Mike Priest to name the new GM if he decides that his pick is Murray, or he simply decides to wait until the playoffs are over to make a possibly bigger splash in the hockey media. We'll just have to see what happens, I guess.

You Don't Know Jack time, and now I'm off to get ready to watch tonight's game!

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Name: Michael
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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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