Dose of Reality #26

January 14, 2007

Dose of Reality

Competitive composure? I’ll be happy if the Jackets play with composure. The team hasn’t won since the Miracle in Anaheim and like the Buckeyes of 2006, the Miracle is old news. Although I was not at the game last night, I did not see anything controversial on television, no goals disallowed, no penalties handed out for Uncompetitive Composure.

I was at another rink last night and caught the end of the second period before I headed home. A man next to me said that the Ken Hitchcock honeymoon is over. He may be right, but more likely his pronouncement is premature. It is clear that the team needs some new blood, guys who can play through hardships, back spasms, being on the road, having a doofus for a GM, or whatever else effects their play. As I said in a very early post on this site, my hope for the Jackets is that they would be in the hunt for a playoff spot in the month of February. It has come to the point where I now hope they are in the hunt for a victory in the third period of each game. When I woke up this morning, at the half-way point of the season, the team is number 31 out of 32 NHL teams.

I have worked in the software business since 1987, mostly in Silicon Valley, mostly for start-ups, with some successes and some failures. The business is a 13-week life span; you live quarter-to-quarter and you better produce results. If you have good venture capital behind you, you can slide by for a couple of quarters without results, but the VC guys have very short tolerance levels and will put a bullet in your head on the last day of the second poor quarter while smiling at you over a latte. Do you understand the main theme here? Results, results, results.

Notice I used the word results. It is not expected that you sell enough product to show profits right away. What is expected is something tangible, like market position, securing business partnerships, hiring talent, product development, or something else that lays the foundation for a successful future and by future it is a date within the next few years.

If you are still following me at this point and your eyes have not glazed over, do you think that the Jackets have done any of these things? Has current management produced any results?

Does the team have talent in place? If you count Ken Hitchcock, Rick Nash, Nikolai Zherdev, Dan Fritsche, and David Vyborny, maybe.

Has the team become competitive? Please show me that they have, because I can’t find any evidence that they have. Losing games by less than three goals is not being more competitive. In the new NHL, blowouts are not that common.

Has the team secured any long-term prospects? Perhaps Rusty Klesla, Gilbert Brule, Kris Russell, Ron Hainsey, Aaron Johnson, Pascal Leclaire, and OK Tollefsen might meet those standards, but the cupboard is not very full.

So when I look at what has happened to the team in season number five, I wonder how Doug MacLean can sleep at night. If being a big fish in a small pond makes him happy, he is living his dream. But he would be collecting unemployment checks if he were in the real world. If he were in my business, he would be working at the Friday’s in San Mateo.

– Truth Serum

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