Dose of Reality #60

July 2, 2007

Blue Jacket fans, did you have fun watching the UFA frenzy yesterday? Sure, we all knew that the team would not be doing anything, but I felt as if I were attending a party where everybody was talking about their vacation homes in Vail or The Hamptons and I was bragging about Buckeye Lake. The NHL showed me that the Lockout was a waste of time because the Have’s, Philadelphia, Detroit, the Rangers, and a few others, can still bid for the players they want and the Have Not’s, Phoenix, Florida, Nashville, and Columbus, still have to battle for table scraps. Please tell me what is different about the new NHL, will you?

The Jackets joined the Have Not Club just a few shorts years ago, when Doug MacLean was given the keys to the store. He left the franchise in an unstable condition and all of us PSL holders are stuck. He drafted poorly, he made questionable coaching decisions, and then leased some expensive players that the fans can’t wait for the terms to end. We got a not-so-competitive team and we’re short of money. By the way, how does Doug get his friends to write The Dispatch and whine about his termination? Did he tell them he would draft their kid for his next team or something? Anyway, as I watched the Flyers and Rangers load up for next season, I had to reach for an adult beverage or two so I could get through the day.

Yesterday was one more parting shot from MacLean and hopefully it was the last. MacLean is not entirely responsible for poor state of the organization, but he deserves most of the blame. The upcoming pep talks from Scott Howson and Ken Hitchcock will be duly reported by the local press and I will stoically listen to them, not wanting to show fear. I will send them my payments for another season and will boo the living sh*t out of Gary Bettman when I hear him tell me that Columbus is a jewel. When things get dark, I will silently say to myself “next year, next year.”

-Truth Serum



  1. Weren’t Federov and Foote still playing “better than average” Hockey when we acquired them? Whose to say some UFA we “could” have selected yesterday wouldn’t have ended up the same way? We’re not short on money at all, the Owner doesn’t want to spend up to the cap. That is his prerogative to do so, and not at all the fault of Doug McLean. Had our two underperforming veterans played to their ability, you’d be trumpeting the praises of D Mac as a genius. I’ve said it before on here, apparently to deaf ears: Hindsight is 20/20, but your favorite ex-GM didn’t have that luxury when he was running this team. We get it, you don’t like him, but spare me the “Woe is me, I’ll begrudgingly pay for another season of tickets” line.

    I’m starting to questions the “Truth” in your Serum, unless it is a big ol’ glass of Sour Grape Juice. I’m certainly glad I don’t live in your reality…

  2. I agree that Foote was playing all-star hockey when the CBJ grabbed him, but not Federov. He was clearly in the decline.

    The big issue with MacLean was that he signed players that were successful in the past playing one style of hockey and then brought them to Columbus and expected them to play a different style. Ray Whitney was not a play-maker like MacLean wished but a goal scorer. Darryl Sydor was not a powerplay quarterback, but a solid defenseman. Todd Marchant is a fast, defensive, face-off specialist who was put on the power play here. And then there is Francois Beauchemin.

    What about MacLean’s coaching decisions? He interfered and fought with Dave King and hired Gallant way before he was ready to coach at the NHL level.

    It also bothers me that Maclean blames others for his problems here, such as Marc Denis. MacLean was IN CHARGE and could easily make changes that he felt were necessary.

    John McConnell is not spending money this year because the team is losing it. Attendance is down, advertising revenue is down, and TV ratings are poor. All of these are due to the poor performance of the team, which MacLean was responsible for.

    My reality is that which you measure all who play or coach in professional sports: winning.

  3. I’ll challenge the fact that this organization is short of money and that’s why there was no activity in the UFA frenzy the last couple of days. I will not disagree that MacLean was canned because the on ice product was poor, but the real reason for MacLean’s outster was the fact that J. MacConnell was fretful of the continuation of losing money. Yes a winning team will anchor the team and provide the extra needed revenue streams. But put yourself in the shoes of the owners and ask yourself how long one can go on going to the well and burning a hole in your pockets.

    Columbus is small market in so many ways and the payroll next season will not approach 40 million which is some 10 million below the cap. Scott Howson must now realize that working for Columbus was like working in Edmonton where for many years back it was life and death to keep the franchise afloat. We are not there yet in Columbus but a comment about the young players able to score must send chills down the spines of the grisled PSL holders who had heard this mantra before.

    In closing I question the signing of A. Svitov and the amount of term and money given for 18 points and 145 penalty minutes. This is not the player you build a team on nor the player that deserves so much praise. Many of the 145 penalty minutes were of the lazy hooking variety and yes Alex did fight occasionally but those selfish peanlties were undisciplined at times. Hitch likes the kid and I guess that is all that matters.

  4. I can’t understand Hitch’s fascination with Svitov. Since the team does not have that many prospects to take his place, I would have kept him but simply offered him a contract, take it or leave it.

    The team has lost money the past two seasons. I am looking for the Forbes article to substantiate this, but I am on the road today and don’t have a lot of time or Internet access. However, I think McConnell is being old-fashioned (I support him) here and wants the team to get organized, take stock of the players, and stick with good fiscal management for this year before they get more aggressive next season. Remember, the team planned to make the playoffs (and more profits) last season. I think it is the prudent thing to do.

    My issue is still that MacLean put the team in this position. The team should have been on more solid ground by now, but unfortunately we will have to wait another year or two.

  5. Truth Serum I agree with everything that you said. MacLean is to blame for the franchise being in the situation it is in. Next year when we lose Foote and Fedorov it will make more sense to go and take a dive into the Free Agent Market. And, I don’t blame McConnell at all for not wanting to go up to the Cap…there is no sense in it this year.

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