I am a Columbus Blue Jacket fan and have been for 10 years. I never miss a game, whether on T.V. or live and in person. Win or lose, I am rooting for my team. That said, I am not an expert on the NHL or the business of hockey. I have never posted any opinions on what this franchise should do to become a winner, until now. Though the Jackets woes began before they even played a game due in part to a certain GM who will not be named, I will try to keep within the present.
Here is what I propose: BLOW THE TEAM UP! It’s time to start over from scratch. From the team president to the players. You can not change a team culture with pieces of the old culture still in controlling parts of said team. This is what should of happened when then coach Hitchcock was let go. The country club needs to be demolished to make way for a Church of Hockey. To extreme? The fans enduring another losing season and this team feeling it’s ok to lose is whats to extreme for me. In my opinion, Mr. Piest you tied your fate to Mr. Howson by letting him stick around for another year. As has been stated many times in articles and blog posts, Mike Priest is not a hockey guy and should probably go back to selling steel. If attitude reflects leadership then there shouldn’t be any question of his removal. Scott Howson seems like a pretty honorable and friendly kind of guy. I actually like him as a person ( from what I’ve seen on t.v. and in interviews). His experiment with spending money and supporting Steve Mason has not worked in the form of what’s important, wins. The new head of scouting is the only front office personnel I would keep.
As for the players, Johanson, Moore, Nikitin and Letestu are the only safe ones on the roster. Prospal I would love to see stay but he is gone at the trade dead line. Wish we had something to offer him so he would stay. They are young, talented and not ruined yet ( hopefully ). As soon as the freeze is lifted players need to be packaged and dealt to teams for picks. No matter how low. Bring up some of the young kids to fill holes. They cant be any worse than the product thats out there now.
Steve Mason- First to go! He has to go. His letting up 3 goals a game is sickening. Every time I see him in net I know the CBJ have to score 4 goals no matter what. My brother and I have been watching him closely this season and he has a major issue that I have not heard anyone talk about. The kid is scared of the puck! Most goalies of his size stand tall in net and make them selves big. Where as Mr. Mason rolls his shoulders in and scrunches up and makes him self small anytime a slap shot comes his way! We have counted at least 20 goals because of this. Coaches and front office people keep saying he is not a head case? The guy is a goalie that doesn’t want to be hit by the puck! That is the definition of a psych problem. Who wants him, right? What would we get for him? A bag of pucks or a bunch of sticks is ok with me. Our defense doesn’t trust him back there and the rest of the team has no confidence in him. Time to go.
Rick Nash- This is hard for me to say. Can’t even believe I’m suggesting it. This is my favorite player in the league and i have grown as a fan as he has grown up a Jacket. The captain goes too. He has so far not been part of the solution, so he must be part of the problem. To many years in that locker room i think has affected his play and most likely his attitude as well. The Carter experiment has blown up in his face. I don’t see the desire and dominating in games as in years past. He has value in the market and we need to exploit that.
Jeff Carter- This experiment is dead. He and Nash have not gelled and if he were an honost man, he would just admit he does not want to be here. You can see it on the bench during games and out on the street. I ran into him in the Short North and congratulated him on a good game from the night before and was told ” whatever, man”. Way to engage a fan, sir. Howson took Philly’s problem to help ours but to no avail. He to will have value in the market and we need to pull the trigger when it’s time.
Antoine Vermette- Have liked this guy since we traded for him. Hell of a face off man. This season has been hard on the guy and has taken over the roll as Mr. Turnover from Kristian Huselios. His numbers have dipped big time and he is not getting any younger. A contending playoff team would love his services.
R.J. Umberger- What hasn’t this guy done for this team? Nash maybe my favorite player but Umberger is my favorite Jacket. I think he has lost his will to endure any more loses. We owe it to this man to get him on a real contending team and at the same time get much in return. Who wouldn’t want this guy on there team at playoff time? Do right by him is all I’m saying.
James Wisniewski- For a guy who’s supposed to be an offensive D-Man his passing out of the zone is suspect at best. That contract is a major hurdle too. If this guy is going to play like a wallflower then we need to find a willing team for him and dump that contract.I like the guy and his attitude but not for 32 million and no mean growl.
Everyone else- They can be packaged with the value guys or with each other to create value. It’s time to start over.
A fire sale is needed here and a clean slate needs to be thought about here in Columbus. I can live with young players losing and learning from those loses. We need a front office that is fresh and intolerable to losing. Arniel is not escaping this unscathed. We need a coach in this scenario that can teach and reach young players. Is Arniel the guy? Hopefully a new president and GM can figure that out. I don’t think so but I am not in a position or have the knowledge for that decision. Like I said above, I do not understand a whole lot about the money side of this sport. I am just a frustrated fan grasping at straws. Maybe you are too!