The new "what to do about Howson" thread
It's been repeated many times that Columbus has a tendency to have late-season surges (seemingly every year) that serve no purpose except to cloud the true quality of the team. This is more or less a re-post of something I put together a couple weeks ago, which was lost in the realm of cyberspace due to a server error.
Record after 60 games - 18-29-7-6 (.408)
Record in last 22 games - 10-10-2 (.500)
Record at trade deadline - 22-33-7-6 (.419)
Record after trade deadline - 6-6-2 (.500)
Record after 60 games - 15-34-8-3 (.342)
Record in last 22 games - 7-13-0-2 (.364)
Record at trade deadline - 19-38-8-3 (.360)
Record after trade deadline - 3-9-0-2 (.286)
Record after 60 games - 22-30-6-2 (.433)
Record in last 22 games - 7-12-2-1 (.386)
Record at trade deadline - 24-34-7-3 (.426)
Record after trade deadline - 5-8-1-0 (.393)
Record after 60 games - 17-31-8-4 (.383)
Record in last 22 games - 8-14-0-0 (.364)
Record at trade deadline - 20-37-8-4 (.377)
Record after trade deadline - 5-8-0-0 (.385)
Record after 60 games - 23-35-2 (.400)
Record in last 22 games - 12-8-2 (.591)
Record at trade deadline - 24-36-2 (.403)
Record after trade deadline - 11-7-2 (.600)
Record after 60 games - 23-31-6 (.433)
Record in last 22 games - 10-11-1 (.477)
Record at trade deadline - 24-32-7 (.437)
Record after trade deadline - 9-10-0 (.474)
Record after 60 games - 27-24-9 (.525)
Record in last 22 games - 7-12-3 (.386)
Record at trade deadline - 29-26-9 (.523)
Record after trade deadline - 5-10-3 (.361)
Record after 60 games - 30-24-6 (.550)
Record in last 22 games - 11-7-4 (.591)
Record at trade deadline - 32-26-6 (.547)
Record after trade deadline - 9-5-4 (.611)
Record after 60 games - 24-27-9 (.475)
Record in last 22 games - 8-8-6 (.500)
Record at trade deadline - 25-28-11 (.477)
Record after trade deadline - 7-7-4 (.500)
Record after 60 games - 31-23-6 (.567)
Record in last 22 games - 3-12-7 (.295)
Record at trade deadline - 31-24-6 (.557)
Record after trade deadline - 3-11-7 (.310)
Record after 60 games - 18-35-7 (.358)
Record in last 22 games - 11-11-0 (.500)
Record at trade deadline - 18-37-7 (.347)
Record after trade deadline - 11-9-0 (.550)
In my opinion, the only true late-season surge is 2005-06, when a roster that was essentially the same as it had been the entire season went on a tear toward the end. The only other one that might come close is this year (2011-12), which featured multiple trades, including the subtraction of Jeff Carter and the addition of Jack Johnson...I don't know that I put those two in the same category.
But outside of that, there isn't anything else to go on to indicate that "this always happens" or "it happens every year". It's a case of attempting to derive a pattern where there quite clearly is none.
I laugh that this is even being talked about as if it was a hot streak. The team went .550 in a 19 game period. That isn't exactly Lazarus rising from the dead.
To complicate matters further, the best player on that roster is not likely to be back next year.
Spinning the record post-deadline as some sort of grand victory is desperate move is a desperate management team.
For those who forget about that 2005-06 team, it should be a warning as to why keeping the status quo in management and coaching could be disastrous. Our coach was Gerard Gallant and many people took the "hot finish" (better than this year's with no trades of significance to account for the improvement) as a sign of good thigns to come the next season.
Instead, Gallant got the team off to a horrendous start and was fired to bring in Ken Hitchcock. Doug finally was axed the following spring.
I for one hope we don't get to see history repeat itself. The time for change is now, not after this management group costs us another season in the abyss.
The one year we made it into the playoffs, we nearly un-surged out way out of it.
I don't think we've had a real late-season surge if by definition you mean it MEANT something.
Being so far out and then winning a few games late-season against
A) teams already in
B) teams that also don't care
...isn't much of a surge.
That said, I'd be tickled pink with .550
The odds of a change at Howson's level is very remote. At least by the time we start next season.
A surge over history does nothing for me. I want surges over teams above us in the standings.
I'm going to swing briefly into football for a moment. The Baylor Bears have traditionally been a bottom-feeder, occasionally rising up into the Bluebonnet Bowl or some other crap. Grant Teaff was their head coach for a long time, and most years they bounced somewhere between 5-6 and 7-4. He retired, and his offensive coordinator Chuck Reedy took over. This was before the 1993 season; Teaff had been there for 21 years. His last five years, Baylor was 6-5, 5-6, 6-4-1, 8-4, and 6-5.
Reedy's Baylor team went 5-6 the first year, then he had a good recruiting class and went 7-5. Not only that, the team tied for the conference championship, the first time they'd done so since 1980. He had another good class and went 7-4; after that season, the Southwest Conference dissolved and Baylor went into the Big 12. Reedy was known for having a good eye for talent, being a good recruiter, and having his teams ready.
Anyway, Baylor had a combination of injuries to key players, players lost to graduation, and just plain bad luck. The team went from 7-4 to 4-7, but the future looked good. Instead, the AD called Reedy in, more or less slammed his fist down, and made some grand pronouncement about how "We are BAYLOR, we should have continued on to 9-3 or 10-2, and you cost us all of this. You call them 'reasons', I call them 'excuses', so clean out your office." Reedy was out the door, and was replaced by Kevin Steele....he couldn't recruit or coach, and Baylor went 2-9 and 2-9. He was fired and replaced by Kevin Steele, who went 1-10, 2-9, 3-8, and 3-8. Guy Morriss came in, and he went 3-9, 3-8, 5-6, 4-8, and 3-9.
(The source for the Reedy story is a former coach at a rival school who knows him fairly well)
If a new GM were to come in, there are two things that could happen.
1) Do very little, giving everyone a year or two to actually show what they can do before making any moves.
2) Come in and immediately clean house on the roster and in the farm system.
Now, coming in and making a bunch of moves assumes that whoever would come in actually has a good eye for talent. Is that someone who's likely to get NHL players and excellent prospects from the late rounds, as Howson has actually done and continues to do? Think what you will about the guy, but there is no disputing that he's done a damned good jon in the draft. And outside of the draft, he's gotten good lightly-regarded prospects from elsewhere...things like dumping Tom Sestito and getting Michael Chaput. Look at some of the trades this year, where everyone else around the league said that Columbus got hosed, and yet...and yet they've turned out well. Every person who observed the Blues couldn't believe that someone actually wanted Nikita Nikitin, and look what he did. Ditto Pittsburgh with Mark Letestu, and especially everyone around the league with Jack Johnson.
Looking at it from the outside, I'm inclined to believe that there's already been assessments made on who's going where in the offseason, including players who aren't pulling their weight. A new GM would either stall that entirely (meaning yet another year of Steve Mason), or the wholesale dumping of players who may not be there yet but probably will be. I mentioned Dale Tallon, who had a fully-stocked farm system and most of an NHL roster when he came in...the drafting plummeted as soon as he came in, and that's not something that's beneficial under any circumstances. Would a new GM be able to draft better? I can say with 99% certainty that you can put anyone from the world of hockey in to draft for Columbus, and they will absolutely not do a better job. And since trades are every bit as much about talent assessment as drafting is, will there be a big improvement in the likely return on someone who's traded? I also say no to that.
I really don't care if I end up being vindicated or not. I'm willing to wager a sizable amount that I will be, but I'd rather actually see what I say will happen actually happen in the next year than to have everyone look back on what could have been and realize that I was right.
Scott Howson Vote of Confidence Thread
Should he stay? If so, why.
Should he go? If so, why.
I already know how the majority are going to vote. I'd like to hear folks like Mayor Bee and others make their best case as to why Howson is deserving of a vote of confidence from the fans.
To use your own top-10 from the year....
HM. Allen York - who drafted him?
10. Derrick Brassard. - who didn't trade him when everyone thought he should be dumped for anything?
8. Cam Atkinson. - who drafted him?
7. Derek Dorsett - who recognized that he could be more than just a fighter?
6. Mid-season acquisitions of Letestu and Nikitin. - who made the trades?
2. Jack Johnson. - who traded for him?
3. #1 Draft Pick, maybe. - as anyone else will point out, who's responsible for this?;)
Let's look at the following and consider them.
- Best defensive corps in team history. There's an actual first-pairing defenseman (Johnson), and possibly a second (Wisniewski) depending on structure.
- A strong crop of defensive prospects. David Savard and John Moore looked awfully good in extended tryouts at the NHL level.
- A lot from the 2012 draft. There are two first-round picks, two second-rounders, a third-rounder, a fourth-rounder and Mark Letestu, James Wisniewski, and a sixth- and seventh-rounder. Columbus has drafted extremely well since Howson took over, so I'd expect quite a bit to come from this year...and dividends have already been paid in the form of Letestu and Wisniewski.
- Guys coming back from injuries. Multiple key players missed a lot of time; that's unlikely to repeat itself again.
- Between the pipes. I ran some numbers in a plug-and-play type of setup (always dangerous) and figured out that there would have been a double-digit improvement in points this year had there been an absolutely average NHL goalie in net. A good NHL goalie would have been an improvement of 25 points. This was simply by swapping numbers, and not taking into account anything like the fact that the team would play differently with a different goalie in net.
- The trade that wasn't made. Rick Nash wasn't dumped for a bunch of futures and random prospects, no matter how large that total package may have been. The almost universal reaction aroudn the league was that the Rangers were offering too much for Nash, and that somehow it wasn't enough. The message was pretty clear, and that is that a move won't be made just for the sake of making a move or just to clear salary space.
- An actual season in the abyss. If a new GM were to come in, he would either make a bunch of moves without having any idea what Columbus has, or he would sit on his hands for a full season and try to figure out what he has. If a new GM comes in and his old team didn't think much of Calvert or Atkinson or Savard, what would happen? If one comes in whose old team was high on Mason, what would happen? Look at what Winnipeg did this year, making a grand total of three deals all season, all involving AHL-caliber players.
- The moves that must/will be made. If the worst draft picks that anyone can point out in the last five seasons are Nikita Filatov (who was salvaged for another prospect anyway) and Stefan Legein (same), with no less than three 6th-rounders who have already played NHL games, I'd say there's a pretty good guy overseeing the draft. If the worst trade was Jeff Carter (who was turned into Jack Johnson and another 1st-rounder), followed by...Glencross for Tarnstrom(?), I'd say that's a pretty good guy to have orchestrating the trades. If the worst free agent signing was Mike Commodore, then.....?, then I'd have to say that the free agency would be a positive as well.
So if you have someone with that type of overwhelmingly positive track record in every manner of player assessment, then I'm inclined to say that the remaining faults on the roster are going to be patched up pretty quickly with the least actually laid out in terms of assets.
We have 2 4ths ;)
Perhaps the argument can be made that we draft talented individuals but fail to develop them. However, those in charge of developing are ultimately put in (and kept in) place by Howson.
In my opinion, he should go not because of his drafting or trading but because of his hiring. He can't hire a good coach, can't seem to hire good developmental people, and we'll see about his scouting staff.
Mayor Bee, you make very strong points. The deals for JJ7 & NN6 speak very well for GMSH. Also the signing of Prospal when Huselius got hurt.
Working against GMSH would be his decision to ride Mason and failing to provide NHL depth.
Anyhow, polls and petitions wont move Mac Jr to action. He is not a man swayed by such activities.
My personal opinion is it is more critical for Priest to step aside from any and all hockey decisions.
Honest question and not trying to be a jerk. But why are you asking? Same stuff, different day.
I'll be honest, it's growing very tiresome listing the reasons I despise him as a GM for the 1500th time. I can't even get beyond one or two reasons when I chat with MB. Can't imagine not wanting to crush my keyboard listing the 30 or so that I have.
Safe to say, throw him to the sharks. Why? With all the effort I can gather atm - His record as a GM sucks to high heavens. I, a nobody, on the Internet knew the roster problems and predicted the results. If I can do it, WTF was Howson thinking?
I still have a feeling the main reason Howson is still around is because the off season moves from last season were forced upon him. We saw Un-Howson like moves. Even if that's true, it doesn't explain his previous years.
I am NOT going to go over the history from day 1. I didn't like what he did the first off season and that continues to today - with brief periods of acceptance and hope (for example, the mid season moves in our playoff year).
His moves the year after our playoff run sealed his fate in my eyes. That off season was a slap in the face of the players, fans, and coaching staff. It was pathetic, irresponsible, and inexcusable.
See, now you have me all fired up again. I hate this guy as a GM. HATE, HATE, HATE. It pisses me off to no end we get another off season with this tool.
It is very simple. He should be fired because the team is bad and it is his job to make the team good. I used to defend Howson, but I can't any more. As Crede777 said, Howson is in charge of hiring all the coaches and developmental people and in my opinion he has done a bad job with both.
The team was able to finish at .550 (which is good for 90 points and 9th place in any conference) with only 2 NHL d-men and ECHL goalie in net. This IS a surge.
I wouldn't blame any GM for second round busts and the only one I can classify as that, to this point, is Legein. I certainly won't blame Howson on that one.
As huge of a critic as I am of Howson, I am not displeased with his drafts.
I realize that I stand to be in the significant minority in this, the .036% as it were, but I feel that overall, the direction the organization has trended in has been positive. It takes time to build system depth, you can't just say we want to be a winner. If you are going to model after Detroit it takes system depth at all levels and that just doesn't happen overnight. This last season was difficult at best, but I feel it to be an aberration and not a reflection. The 400 plus man-games lost certainly didn't help especially in goal with the loss of Dekanich. Would he have made a difference? Who knows? I found it telling that when things went bad they went outside to pick up some pieces and allowed the players in Springfield to stay there and work on their game, at least as long as was possible. Stop gaps to be sure but some of which turned out to be rather enlightening.
We really don't know what the dynamics of the front office are, so it is difficult to assess what changes might be worthwhile. I just don't think fire them all is a prudent option. I would not be against Mr Priest moving on to another of the families enterprises and another "hockey mind" as it were installed, perhaps even another "senior advisor".
I am admittedly not the expert that some here are, and I don't have the time to do as much statistical research as I would like, and I am unlikely to change anybody's view, but opinions were asked for and now you have mine.
I also ask because the end of the season is usually when most people in this organization are evaluated (which I personally disagree with, but that's the way it is)
I think we see certain players surge late in the season(s). Not that there is anything abnormal or different about that compared to other teams really.
Positives offset by negatives.
He started the season with Mason and trade Russell for Nikitin. Bad with good.
Same story. This is Howson. Every time he does something good, you'll find it's either fixing one of his mistakes or comes on the heels of another blunder.
Also, Tyutin and Wiz played portions of the "surge" so pretending that we did it with "2 NHL d-men" is just a flat out lie. Not to mention that John Moore was more an NHL defenseman at the end of the year than the beginning.
I think the real point is that the writing is usually on the wall by January, so winning even every 3rd or 4th game after that doesn't really do anything other than keeping us a few points ahead of the bottom of the barrel, i.e. our average 5th or 6th overall drafting :D
But, I agree that Gallant's "surge" is a cautionary tale of why you shouldn't go against better judgement and reward guys for improbable results once the pressure's off.
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