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Blue Jackets Links

The topic sample platter post; several topics for an appetizer-sized price!

Thursday, June 07, 2007
Just Ducky
And so it goes that this Stanley Cup Finals ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. As has already been plastered on every hockey blog imaginable, the Anaheim Ducks ran roughshod over the hapless Ottawa Senators with a 6-2 drubbing, winning the series 4-1 and effectively crushing the hopes and dreams of fervent Canadian hockey fans from Vancouver to Montreal that the Stanley Cup would be won by a Canadian team for the first time in a decade and a half.

Yeah, go ahead, tell me that not every Canadian hockey fan wanted to see the other Canadian hockey team that isn't theirs be the first to bring it back, and also how the Anaheim Ducks currently have more Canadian players than any other team in the NHL. Irregardless of those facts, you can't deny the possible sense of anguish that comes with seeing half of all Canadian teams fall, one by one, over the past three years to three "non-traditional" markets where the Stanley Cup, if the mainstream media is telling the truth, is mistaken for a spittoon or an ash tray.

As for how I feel about seeing the Ducks win, well ... like I said last year when I favored the Carolina Hurricanes from a "spreading the game" standpoint, I have no qualms with the Cup spending some time under the hot sun, and rubbing bling with Snoop Dogg. Pundits far and wide will remind you, as they have been since the game ended last night, that this is a horrible thing to happen to the league. And as far as looking at it in macro terms, it certainly doesn't help in the here and now. But you just can't expect a team to grow the sport, let alone draw fans, without seeing them win. And the Ducks have done just that. As a result, they now have both doubled sponsorship and merchandise sales, as noted by James Mirtle. The issues concerning their claims of still possibly being in the red can be saved for another day.

Mike Priest talks ... just not in Columbus
Does anyone else find it even mildly curious that Mike Priest decided that he would instead speak publicly about the team over in Akron, instead of right here in Columbus with The Columbus Dispatch. While the Dispatch's parent group does have a minority stake in the Blue Jackets, you can't help but wonder if there could be any kind of rift between the front office and the Dispatch. I mean, since when did Akron care about the Blue Jackets, anyway? Something about this doesn't sit right with me.

What does he say? Well ... to me, it isn't much. I sort of feel like I walked in a circle, and didn't get to see much scenery before being planted back at square one.

Something of mild concern is the way that Priest dances around this issue, but ultimately makes it clear that the free agent market is not something that the Blue Jackets will be doing much moving and shaking in this off-season. The team is in a bind right now due to large contracts, as mentioned in the article, tied to Sergei Fedorov and team captain Adam Foote, who have both not been able to give the Jackets a bang for their buck. If that is the case and this team will be looking for poor man Daniel Brieres and the like, hopefully the upcoming general manager will be something of a quality judge of talent, since he'll have to be doing a lot of sifting through the bargain bin, it appears.

Speaking of the GM search ...
With the fact that Neil Smith, Jim Clark, and Don Boyd were all longshot candidates exposed to the public after the withdrawl of Bob Murry as the top candidate, the new focus on who will be the next Jackets' GM turns toward Dallas and Edmonton, where Les Jackson and Scott Howson, respectively, are slated for interviews at some point. When? No one knows, really, but it should obviously be before the draft, even if no one is named before then.

Both Howson and Jackson have experience playing hockey in the professional leagues, are assistant GMs for their respective teams, and both have coaching experience in some capacity in the minor hockey leagues. Howson, however, seems to have more direct general manager experience, as seen by his stint as the GM of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Jackson's history is not as easily accessible either through searches or through the Stars' own website, where it is mentioned that prior to his time as assistant GM to the Stars, he was also the assistant GM to the Atlanta Thrashers up until last season (at least I assume until last season ... the part in his bio which states " Les Jackson enters the sixth season of his second stint with the Stars after spending the previous two years as the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Thrashers" leads me to believe as such, barring it being obsolete).

Meanwhile, back on the topic of ESPN ...
... the usual prodding and mocking of the NHL, except with even more venom than usual, came spewing forth from cranky, crabby Tony Kornheiser's mouth as though he was just dying for the chance to yell, scream, and cause a ruckus during Pardon the Interruption this afternoon. Never have I wanted to wring his neck so badly, as he took every opportunity he could in the minute and a half he had to tear the NHL apart.

The rest of ESPN's "fine" line of original entertainment hovered between "respectable" to "ignorant", as Jim Rome -- despite the apologist way in which he tried to portray himself as a lover of hockey and the NHL -- jumped on the opportunity that the NHL never has, and never will be a major sport. Rome must have been born in the 21st century and had his aging process sped up, as if he had lived during the mid-90s, he would have remembered that the NHL was indeed outdrawing the NBA at many turns, both at the gate and on television, back then.

... which was something that was brought up by panelist Woody Paige when the NHL was brought up on Around the Horn. With the exception of biasedly anti-hockey journalist Bill Plaske, the panelists generally agreed that the NHL could actually somehow, someway, someday pull itself together and get itself back to greatness. Paige gleefully teared into Gary Bettman, while unabashed hockey lover Tim Cowlishaw shared inside information concerning an executive or owner in the league making it very clear that the league was missing ESPN right now, and wished there was a way to get out of its contract with Versus (at least that's what I thought I heard).

I guess that's about par for the course. Though Kornheiser's violent rage almost makes it seem like a proverbial double bogey in terms of media coverage.

And let's not forget the draft!
I think, for the most part, Drew and I have done all we can to get the word out, with the help of at least a dozen different bloggers out there who have been extremely helpful in spreading the word about the draft get together. To everyone who did, I want to say thank you very much!

Like I said earlier this week, I am hoping that by the middle to the end of next week, some sort of finalized plan will be hammered out in terms of where everyone should meet. So again, stay tuned!

On that note, it's been a long day, and I have some things to take care of this evening.

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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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