Summer HockeyJuly 9, 2008
Many of you out there have been following and probably enjoying the escapades down in Tampa Bay under the new owners, Oren Koules and Len Barrie. A great read is this piece from James Mirtle and Puck Daddy, also known as Greg Wyshynski. One writer labeled the situation in Tampa Bay a “gong show” and who knows what NHL insiders are calling it when they step out to have an adult beverage. As entertaining as it is, can you imagine how things might be if our old friend Doug MacLean had been able to be part of the ownership group? Gong show might be a favorable descriptor with Doug flexing his ego.
He would probably not have his own radio show in Tampa because with a Hollywood producer like Koules as a partner, television would be the logical next step for Doug. Following that, he would start transplanting PEI friends to Florida to fill all the organizational jobs and potato fields. Youth hockey would be rolled into the Lightning operations and a new junior team would be formed. Barry Melrose would not be named as coach because with Doug in charge, the team wouldn’t need one.
Last night, I went to the Jackets Q & A to hear Scott Howson and Ken Hitchcock talk about the team and take questions from the season ticket holders. The fans were all very eager and listened to Howson give a nice, detailed presentation on the recent draft and the trades the Jackets made. I learned a few things last night:
Brendan Morrison informed the team very early on that he would not be considering Columbus. Howson and Hitch believe that he did so for personal, maybe family, reasons.
Ryan Malone was off the radar for Columbus well before the draft due to a combination of the Pittsburgh demands and Tampa Bay hiring his former agent and father.
The coaches and the scouts had many “debates” over the players out there and these debates were not always polite.
Hitchcock feels that the Jackets will be more competitive this season and should improve in the standings. To his dismay, Detroit got even better along with Chicago and Edmonton, but some teams may have slipped and presented Columbus with an opportunity.
All in all, it was an informative event without a lot of bullshit. I can’t wait for the season to begin.