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Blue Jackets Links

Summer sweeps!

Saturday, August 04, 2007
With seemingly deft actions, Scott Howson has begun to quietly clean up the Blue Jackets' front office. In his wake, four scouts have either left or been asked to leave, as per this report by Aaron Portzline.

But that isn't the big story here. No, the big story -- as I found out first sometime yesterday when I saw this post by Sarah over at The Neutral Zone Trap --is that Assistant General Manager Jim Clark has been asked to relocate to Syracuse, where for the final year of his contract with the Blue Jackets he will run the Syracuse Crunch organization. After that, you can just as well assume that that is it for Clark's time with the Jackets.

Ultimately, this is for the best. Putting aside my like for Mr. Clark from a more personal perspective of having bumped in to him once or twice, there was always the nagging feelings out there -- not just my own, but from many Jackets' fans -- that Clark only got his position based off of his connections to Doug MacLean. Now don't take that the wrong way and assume I am saying that Clark doesn't know anything about hockey. If he didn't, he would have never even broke in to the National Hockey League in the first place as an executive.

But as I had stressed time and again, he all but followed MacLean from Detroit, to Florida, to Columbus. It smacked of cronie-ism, without any sort of legitimate rationale beyond friendly connections.

Still, despite my contentment with this move, I can't help but feel surprised that it happened so soon. As was mentioned, Clark only had one year left on his contract. Maybe there was pressure to move Clark out?

That question is rhetorical, by the way. Howson, in the article by Portzline, goes on to say that the new Assistant General Manager is someone who was going to be moving on very soon if he did not get new responsibilities, or a new challenge. Who is that person?

Meet Chris MacFarland. Head of the team's hockey operations since back in 2001, MacFarland has been around the team since the very beginning, first coming on to the scene sometime in 1999, a year prior to the 2000-2001 inaugural season.

Sadly, I lack a lot of information on Chris, leaving me to just go off of what I know from seeing him around. In my personal opinion? He's smart, and he knows what he's doing. He wouldn't be getting this promotion if he didn't, after all. He's a friendly guy, which makes sense since -- as his biography on the Blue Jackets' website states -- he handles so many things for the team already, which include volatile issues such as salary arbitration, and negotiations and communication with the league over the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If those were his responsibilities, I have no doubt that he's ready for a shot at Assistant GM.

I'm sure either Portzline or Michael Arace will have something more fulfilling on MacFarland sometime during the upcoming week. I'd like to hope so, since I am sure many people, including myself, are hoping for something a bit more in-depth concerning his time involved with the Jackets, how sources in the organization view him, and the like.

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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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