Dose of Reality #31

February 15, 2007

Dose of Reality

So Niki Zherdev is our problem, right? Last season he averaged .74 points per game and this year he is down to .46 and has brought the Columbus Blue Jackets down with him. He should turn back all his money and beg forgiveness from the fans. Better yet, he just should put the money back into Doug MacLean’s pockets and go live on the streets! That will teach him. After that, we can go talk to Rick Nash, who averaged an even 1.00 point per game last season, but has fallen to .71, which is a steeper drop than Zherdev.

This season was in trouble last summer when our GM decided to play hardball with Nikolai. Instead of negotiating with him, MacLean had to attack him. It is a zero sum game with MacLean, who always gets a raise each year no matter how bad the team does. Rob Oller of The Dispatch came very close to calling MacLean a fraud today, but stopped short, letting those of us who care about hockey come to our own conclusions.

Maybe something will come to a conclusion with this organization now that Ken Hitchcock, a man who knows about both hockey and winning, is coaching this clunker of a team. Hitchcock had to take the blame in Philadelphia when Bob Clarke put together a roster that was built for the 1980’s and gave it to Hitch. I don’t think he is going to fall on his sword this time, not for a guy like Doug MacLean.

Nikolai Zherdev is not doing well and he can drive coaches nuts with his undisciplined play. For three years, discipline didn’t matter here in Columbus because management only cared about cashing their paychecks. But now that the fans are not turning out game after game to spend their money at Nationwide, discipline matters. I agree that Zherdev is probably the most undisciplined of the lot, but he is just one piece of the puzzle. MacLean signed Carter, who by the way ain’t putting up numbers either, as insurance. Well, the team doesn’t need the insurance anymore, but there is no cancellation clause on the policy, so the McConnell’s are stuck paying Carter a lot of money and a group of players that don’t win. It would be great to free up Carter’s millions and bring up a prospect or pick one up from another team. But no, we have an expensive roster (for Columbus) that we can’t do much with. The team has no room to move players out and bring new ones in.

So for the last month, we have been hearing about how the team is in the hunt for the playoffs. That was true in October, but not in January. You want to see playoffs, go to the Ice Haus and watch the Ohio High School District Hockey playoffs, which begin on Friday.

This team needs an enema.

– Truth Serum


One comment

  1. First off, love the Batman reference. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Second, the nerd in me has to quibble with your math for a moment. Yes, Rick Nash has lost more points per game than Nik Zherdev (0.29 to 0.28), but Rick also had farther to fall. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Rick is producing at 71% of last year’s level, while Nikolai is only producing at 62% of his 2005-06 output. Comparing each player to himself, Nik has fallen further.

    I agree with you also on the Oller article today. I appreciated the not-so-thinly veiled barb shot in CGMDM’s direction.

    I’ve been listening recently to the Mark the Shark sports radio show on 103.9 on my way home from work. A common question that he (and sometime co-host Jeff Logan) asks listeners is “specifically why does everyone say Doug MacLean is a bad GM?” I don’t get the impression that Mark is in the business of sticking up for Doug, it almost sounds to me like he has his own thoughts on the matter but wants to hear a reader thoughtfully articulate his/her thoughts on the matter. I’ve been meaning to call and chat, but I never do. One thing I’ve learned from listening is that there are people in Columbus who are learning to love the game of hockey. I would be very disappointed if MacLean continues his current path of arrogance and “kills the buzz”, so to speak.

    Regarding Anson Carter, I’ve had my reservations from day one. In my post on his signing, I said “I’ll probably need a little time to figure out exactly what I think of the whole thing, but on the surface it looks pretty good to me. I’d rather have Carter there to fill a hole than try and expect a third or fourth line player to fit in.” Not exactly a glowing endorsement, but I had a suspicion that Carter’s 2005-06 stats were more a byproduct of playing with the talented Sedin twins in Vancouver. Can you elaborate more on your statement that “[t]he team has no roomto move players out and bring new ones in”? Why can’t they ship Carter by February 27th? Just curious.

    High school hockey sounds like it might be kind of fun. Maybe I’ll see you there.

    Frustration is hitting on all cylinders here in Columbus. Players, coaches, columnists, and fans are all clamoring to fix the problem (whatever it is). It’s probably safe to say (and by safe I mean 100% certain) that this season is done. The six game homestand provided an opportunity for a last gasp attempt, and the team blew it. Better luck next year.

    Thankfully, we all know just how close Columbus is to the playoffs. Just… that… close. Riiiggghhht, Dougie.

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