Dose of Reality #2

October 31, 2006

Another dose from Truth Serum 

Dose of Reality

After reading The Dispatch this morning, I’m glad that President and General Manager Doug MacLean is not ready to give up. He has anther 73 games to go and he is still positive. As he must be. And I agree 100% that there are five or six players who can score 30 goals. But I am not prepared to give him a ringing endorsement at this time.

Doug can’t hit the panic button yet, but he doesn’t have that many alternatives to consider in the future. Who would he trade, the $6 million Fedorov or the $4.6 million Foote? Do you think anyone out there is seeking them, the two highest paid players on the roster? I have a hunch that teams are more interested in Nash, Zherdev, or Brule.So MacLean says that he may look internally first to add more scoring to the team. Do I plan on seeing Mark Hartigan, Geoff Platt, and Alexandre Picard re-join the team? Joe Motzko was leading the team with one goal after eight games, but we have yo-yo’ed him enough for the last three seasons. We need a bit more of a punch.

And Doug is giving Coach Gallant his vote of confidence, at least for now. So what is the team going to do? He has told us that they don’t need no stinking scoring lessons, so we have to work on team defense. Now you’re talking!

But wait, haven’t we been there before? I mean Adam Foote is certainly better than most defensmen in the NHL, and Klesla and Hainsey are no slouches. Vyborny, Federov, Malhotra, and Modin all have decent checking skills. A lot of the other guys aren’t that bad, either.

So what can we do? I guess maybe they should focus on winning by scoring more goals than the other team. Perhaps the team should take more shots, clear some of the rebounds that Leclaire deals, use some speed on the breakout, and stay out of the penalty box. Another great idea to try is to look deep inside of themselves and search for a way to win. When you are holding a lead over Vancouver at home, make it stand. Because it doesn’t seem that a trip to Syracuse is all that motivating to this group. A trade to Pittsburgh, Carolina, or Anaheim is actually something to look forward to these days.

The players all seem to get along with each other, which is great, and we know that Gallant, Gary Agnew, and Gord Murphy are all beholden to MacLean. But there seems to be a disconnect. I wouldn’t exactly call it a lack of respect for management, but I don’t see many of the players willing to take that bullet, to do anything except be humiliated by another loss. Maybe they are confused about which master they are to serve?

All I gathered out of The Dispatch report is that MacLean has faith in them and we fans should just continue to show up and they will eventually win. The players know that Syracuse is not going to save the mothership and they know that very few of them are going to be moved. They also see that in the past, a trip out of Columbus was usually beneficial most of the time. But they understand very well that above all else, Doug MacLean is here to stay and they have to live within his system. As one writer in Toronto put it, “GM Doug MacLean is on the verge of killing his play thing…” I hope the writer is wrong and that the players can find ways to win.



  1. Drew and Truth: great addition to the site.

  2. Great idea on the collaboration, guys. Can already tell that Truth is going to make a great site better.

    “Perhaps the team should take more shots, clear some of the rebounds that Leclaire deals, use some speed on the breakout, and stay out of the penalty box.”

    Truer words were never spoken.

  3. Winning by scoring more goals than your opponent. It seems obvious, but when is the message going to take hold in the dressing room?

    Players confused about which master to serve? It seems to me that a major behavioral result of paying so much money to players is that they play for the dollars, and not for other things (pride/team/love of the game/etc.). As long as I’m getting paid, who cares how much I try?

    Last thought… I think that MacLean will continue to have the ear of the ownership group until it’s proven that his model of management doesn’t make money. Of course, I’ve been wrong before.

  4. Players don’t respond to screaming and threats. And gaining a new contract motivates players more than their current ones. The players want to win and they want to be compensated for it, but they don’t tank games unless they have grudges. And if they are perceived as tanking, there are lots of guys in the dressing room who will adress them.

    When ownership starts to see fewer people in the stands, MacLean will have to be accountable. And it looks like that may be happening. The announced crowd for the Colorado game was 16,007, but section 219 was almost completely empty as were many others. I mention 219 because that is one of the last sections the team sells tickets for.

  5. Good point. I wasn’t specifically accusing anyone of tanking, as much as not giving 100% effort (sorry, I refuse to use the 110% cliche 🙂 )

    So I should look for seats in section 219 if I want some leg room? Excellent. I’ve got a family event in January, and we’ll be looking for seats together. Sounds like it shouldn’t be too difficult.

    Frustration is mounting, not just for players but fans as well. Bob Hunter (Dispatch sports commentary) is always late to the party, and even he is talking about discontent. Booing is becoming more regular in Nationwide Arena than a Blue Jacket hitting the back of the net.

    I’ve had mixed feelings for years about my critical thoughts on the CBJ. It’s nice to have a local professional team I can call my own, and I don’t want them to leave. Just to get better. I already suffered through Art Modell moving the Browns.

    Perhaps we should change the name of the site from End of the Bench to “FireDougMacLean.wordpress.com”

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