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Dose of Reality #8

November 16, 2006

Dose of Reality

The Jackets played tougher, were faster, and were more consistent on offense last night in their first game under interim coach Gary Agnew. But the opponent was Nashville, a much better team than Columbus who matched the Blue Jackets in all phases of the game. So despite the better effort than we fans have seen of late, the result was no different.

There is not much I can comment on. The forwards got more ice time than they got under Gerard Gallant and it probably contributed to the better shot numbers and scoring chances. Rick Nash had two goals, but the replay on the first one showed that goalie Tomas Vokoun was not in good position, sliding too far to his left and giving Nash the middle of the net. Nash, Modin, Fedorov, Zherdev, and Fritsche all played better last night than they have in their last few games. Even Jason Chimera put one in the net, erasing one of the zeros in his stats.

The defensemen were another story. Nashville is fast and creative and they schooled the Columbus blue line most of the game. David Legwand’s goal from Paul Kariya was a beauty that will be replayed throughout the season on Nashville television. It seemed that the CBJ defensemen could not keep up with Nashville, chasing them around in our own end most of the night and watching their forwards win the battles along the wall. Perhaps interim coach Agnew should give current assistant coach Gord Murphy a to-do and work on that area.

It’s nice to see that Rusty Klesla has also pissed of Nashville players, particularly Scott Upshall, who took the best run at Klesla of the night. Rusty is not making many friends in the NHL. I don’t want to sell Adam Foote short, however. He chose the 5’9” Paul Kariya as his target and gave him a hard shove to the head late in the third period after the Predators had taken the lead. It would be great if these two defensemen could find another way to show their aggression.

Doug MacLean had some new guests in his box last night, but I couldn’t identify any of them. No doubt we will learn more.

I would like to comment on the current state of the team management and coaching. Like every hockey fan in the Columbus area, I have had non-stop conversations about a new coach and Doug MacLean. To me, the Blue Jackets need to take one more step and replace Doug MacLean as GM. The best thing for the organization would be to use some deliberation and hire a new general manager who can then go about the task of rebuilding the team. Let a new GM hire the coach of his choice and fill the roster with players of his choice. It would give the team some much-needed stability and remove the last remaining mind-set of that start-up period.

In business, most companies get their start from a management team that is replaced when the company grows and makes their Initial Public Offering, or IPO. If you think of the Blue Jackets as a business, as John McConnell has recently made very clear, then it is time for a change in management as the team is at a different place than they were when MacLean was brought in. Doug MacLean was the right choice to guide the team during the start-up phase and he did many good things. Hiring Dave King as coach was one of his best moves, along with drafting Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev. But that start-up team is now competing in the new NHL, with new playing rules and a salary cap to go along with a maturing organization that has different concerns than it did in 2000. A new management structure that fully understands this environment is what is needed. John McConnell and his advisors should be interviewing MacLean’s replacement first because that will be the most important hire can they make. The future of the team is at stake here.

– Truth Serum

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  1. […] the Bench Views on the Blue Jackets, hockey, and sports in general « Dose of Reality #8 Jackets net four in loss to Preds November 16th,2006 […]



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