“Be patient.” “We can’t be this bad.” 3-5 games ago, I would have believed it, that this was just a rough start out of the gate. The Columbus Blue Jackets, now sitting dead last in The Central Division, and in The NHL at 2-11-1, are just that bad. While if this team was a bunch of cheaply paid scrubs, I could at least semi understand it. But when you are paying $58,113,000 for a team that is 2-11-1, enough is enough, time for the hard hats, bring on the demolition.
The first thing we have to look at is the organization up top, above general manager and head coach, because when you want to turn things around, you gotta start at the top. Team President Mike Priest should be considered as one of the first to go. I realize that he is very close to the McConnell family as President of JMAC,Inc. But we really need to think about getting a hockey guy with a true hockey background in that position. Priest could still oversee finances, which he does a fine job at, but leave him out of the hockey operations. As hard as it would be for JPM to cut him loose, he should realize, Hitchcock hockey, is no longer Blue Jackets hockey.
Next to be put under the microscope, General Manager. Scott Howson helped build the team to the successful 2008-2009 campaign, this cannot be denied. However, since then, progress has been at a standstill. Draft picks are developing, many it is hard to tell if they were good or bad at this point (Johansen,Moore,Savard). The one big bust, Nikita Filatov, was at the time a good choice, but turned out to be a huge mistake, later traded for a 3rd round pick. With a few good moves through free agency and trade, Howson has also made his fair share of mistakes. Trading Rostislav Klesla, a decent defender with a small price tag despite his injury issues, for essentially nothing (Upshall and Lepisto, who both left through free agency). Allowing Manny Malhotra and Jan Hejda to walk, as well as claiming Ethan Moreau and Craig Rivet, both who proved to be useless to the team.