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The new "what to do about Howson" thread

View Poll Results: What should ownership do with GM Scott Howson during the offseason?
Keep him 18 21.43%
Fire him 66 78.57%
Voters: 84. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
04-10-2012, 11:11 AM
  #101
CapnCornelius
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I find the Hitch revisionism amusing.

Listen, I'm happy Hitch is doing well in St. Louis. But to pretend that if we had stayed the course with him here that things would have turned around is a fantasy. For whatever reason, the team, a team that was less than a year removed from the playoffs, could not buy a win.

Is it likely that Howson was a part of the problem? That Howson's player selection didn't complement Hitch's style? Sure, that argument can be made and I'll even buy it to a certain point (and acknowledged as much at the time).

However, it has also been mentioned extensively this year in coverage of Hitchcock that he grew and adjusted from the experience here in Columbus. Would he have done the soul searching and made the changes had he been retained? There's no guaranty of that. I know from my own experiences that sometimes it is a setback or failure that helps us realize something crucial that we wouldn't have learned otherwise. I'd argue that losing the job in Columbus ultimately was a valuable learning experience for Hitchcock which resulted in him re-evaluating the way he operated. And when Hitch was fired, I actually hoped as much for him--it was never personal, but it was fairly clear things weren't working.

Firing Howson and retaining Hitchcock was not a good option even if Howson was the preponderance of the problem. Because then you venirate your coach above your GM. Putting the next GM in a bind if he had found that Hitchcock wasn't performing and needed to be removed.

This has been my problem with how this franchise has operated going back to the Maclean days--things are often done backwards--ex. hiring a permanent coach in Ken Hitchcock while the lame duck GM was still in place. In the case of the 2009-10 season, the Jackets actually did do things the right way by firing Hitchcock instead of Howson. But, given the concerns about Howson himself, it was also right to put him on a short leash. He got the opportunity to select his own coach to prove that Hitchcock was the sole reason for the team's underperformance in 2009-10...and the result was nearly identical. At that point, you can conclusively say that Ken Hitchcock wasn't the only problem and as GM Howson deserves a substantial heaping of the blame but that does not mean Hitchcock didn't contribute to the problems.

If I were operating on mere bloodlust, I'd have asked for Howson and Hitchcock to both be removed in 2009-10. I didn't out of equity to Howson who was put in the situation of being stuck with a coach and system that he didn't necessarily choose to build his franchise around, but who was in place when he arrived because the franchise had made the mistake of hiring a coach before a GM. He had an opportunity to hand pick a coach and system and that experiment was a disaster.

We're again about to pick a permanent coach. That coach will no doubt want a standard 3 year contract. Are we really comfortable enough with this GM that we are willing to let him hand pick a coach, or are we again inviting the possibility that this is a short-term GM and the next GM will be stuck with the coach and system selected by his predecessor?

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04-10-2012, 11:12 AM
  #102
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
- 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.
Good point. Howson gambled on Mason, he had too so he could focus resources on other roster positions. The gamble failed. Should you fire Howson because of it? No.

IMO, you only replace Howson if you've got a guy lined up you can honestly say is better. But lets make sure we understand first why this team was so bad this year, and what Howson did to contribute to that failure. If his moves were faulty or foolish, and we have guy lined we know won't make those mistakes, then replace him.

My personal hunch is that we don't have a better option.

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04-10-2012, 11:31 AM
  #103
CapnCornelius
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Originally Posted by Nordique View Post
Good point. Howson gambled on Mason, he had too so he could focus resources on other roster positions. The gamble failed. Should you fire Howson because of it? No.

IMO, you only replace Howson if you've got a guy lined up you can honestly say is better. But lets make sure we understand first why this team was so bad this year, and what Howson did to contribute to that failure. If his moves were faulty or foolish, and we have guy lined we know won't make those mistakes, then replace him.

My personal hunch is that we don't have a better option.
The only way you line a guy up is by firing the one you have an interviewing people.

There are a slew of qualified people. They've been discussed here many times.

The relevant period here isn't just this year. Howson made the same Mason gamble after Hitchcock's departure...so it wasn't as if there wasn't some track record of Mason's issues. To not at least get a "1B" type goalie this past off-season was a glaring mistake. But it was hardly the only one. Until the injury to Huselius Howson was quite content to roll with his forward group as-is. And, let's not forget the gaping holes on defense.

How did a roster that made the playoffs 3 years ago get to a point that it needed to have 50% of its defense replaced (and I'd argue more), 100% of its goaltending replaced and still lacked the offensive firepower to compete (finishing dead last in our division each of those three years)? There was only one GM during that time, so I think we know the answer.

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04-10-2012, 11:40 AM
  #104
Nordique
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Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
The only way you line a guy up is by firing the one you have an interviewing people.

There are a slew of qualified people. They've been discussed here many times.

The relevant period here isn't just this year. Howson made the same Mason gamble after Hitchcock's departure...so it wasn't as if there wasn't some track record of Mason's issues. To not at least get a "1B" type goalie this past off-season was a glaring mistake. But it was hardly the only one. Until the injury to Huselius Howson was quite content to roll with his forward group as-is. And, let's not forget the gaping holes on defense.

How did a roster that made the playoffs 3 years ago get to a point that it needed to have 50% of its defense replaced (and I'd argue more), 100% of its goaltending replaced and still lacked the offensive firepower to compete (finishing dead last in our division each of those three years)? There was only one GM during that time, so I think we know the answer.
All true.

Howson, like any GM, has to take calculated risks. In hind sight many of his moves are failures, but its hard for me to blast the guy, when I applauded the RJ, Vermette, and Mason contracts, like most fans did. I thought Carter would be a valuable pick up. I didn't think Wisniewski would be made into Shannahan's "example" for the rest of the league, for a hit that was no worse than x-checks you see in the front of the net in any given game.

Of course when you are a perrenial loser, you have to take a few more risks, because you don't get your first choice as head coach (Boucher), you don't get prime FA's for fair prices, instead you overpay for guys others are passing on, and your big signings pout and cry about being in the midwest on a poor team.

I'm fine with firing Howson, if I know I'm getting a better GM. This job sucks, and its going to take alot of skill, and an equal amount of luck to pull this team into the top half of the league on a consistent basis.

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04-10-2012, 11:41 AM
  #105
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Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
No, I'm pointing out there is ZERO, reason to put the faith in his drafting that you seem to be putting. None. Responsible or not, either way he hasn't drafted a superstar in his entire time as a hockey executive. Got it?
This is just ridiculous. Edmonton had to draft a superstar even though NO stars were selected all those years after the Oilers 1st round pick? Howson had to find something that didn't exist? There's only 5-6 real superstars total in the NHL and off course Houson had to find one in 2002-06 for Edmonton.
Edmonton's drafting was terrible for a long time before Howson even became GM assistant. The highest pick Edmonton had all those years (2002-06) was 14th! All the superstars were waiting for Edmonton to pick them up? Can you make a little research and find a SINGLE superstar that was drafted after Edmonton's 1st round picks?!!!

Quote:
Given that Howson didn't draft Chris Pronger, it is not relevant to a discussion of his drafting ability...which is the sole defense left for this pathetic GM. That somehow his drafting acumen will save us all.
I used to the fact you pointing out only at something that makes Howson look worse and don't notice some other facts... like taking the Oil to the Cup finals.




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Nice cherry picking. I love how you ignored Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand...all drafted in Chiarelli's first draft with the team! And then you ignored the year with Seguin (whom Kessel was traded for, essentially) as well! Just brilliant manipulation of reality to fit your fantasy world. Has Scott Howson drafted 4 players who have performed to that level to date?

The 3 players from Chiarelli's first draft that played more than 5 NHL games have 636 NHL points! Kind of makes Howson's 258 points from 7 players look weak, eh?
Jeez. Get your facts straight at once. You're still twisting the facts. Boston's 2006 draft was a result of the previous management work. Chiarelli officially took his GM position in Boston on July 8, 2006, after the draft!!! He was named a new GM in May and obviously had no relation to all the work Bruins scouting has done during that year. After that the Boston drafting became disaster and Chiarelli is obvious reason for that.
And I have no idea what to say about giving Chiarelli credit for Seguin pick... That's just as ridiculous as blaming Howson for poor Edmonton's drafts. If you're talking about the trade - Chiarelli was good at it, but even he couldn't know that Toronto's pick would be 2nd overall. If you're talking about the draft ability - even my grandma would have picked Seguin 2nd overall.

You obviously can't accept the fact that for 3 years in a row Blue Jackets drafting was head and shoulders better than Boston's. Cause that doesn't support your position. Keep twisting the fact and bring in lies.

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04-10-2012, 11:44 AM
  #106
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Howson needs to go because he is 3 years behind the trend.

He went with "Hitch hockey" (clutch and grab trap play) when offense-first (think Caps / Chicago / Philly) was most effective. Then he switched styles now that Hitch hockey (Kings, Blues, Bruins) is most effective.

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04-10-2012, 11:50 AM
  #107
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Originally Posted by Nordique View Post
I'm fine with firing Howson, if I know I'm getting a better GM. This job sucks, and its going to take alot of skill, and an equal amount of luck to pull this team into the top half of the league on a consistent basis.

Based on past history, I'm not sure we can get a better GM without massive change across the board at the management level.

Which is a better job? Taking over this organization in June 2007 or now?

I'd say 2007, easily.

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04-10-2012, 11:51 AM
  #108
Nordique
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Originally Posted by Crede777 View Post
Howson needs to go because he is 3 years behind the trend.

He went with "Hitch hockey" (clutch and grab trap play) when offense-first (think Caps / Chicago / Philly) was most effective. Then he switched styles now that Hitch hockey (Kings, Blues, Bruins) is most effective.
In hindsight, the coaching change was a huge mistake. I think this, above all else, could be the act that damns Howson's fate. If Hitch makes a cup run with this Blues team, look out. The guy obviously is a brilliant coach, whose style transcends league trends. He's had his failures too, but what he had accomplished this season in STL should quiet the critics for sometime.

This also raises the question, how different would things have been with Boucher behind the bench this season?

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04-10-2012, 11:52 AM
  #109
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Originally Posted by Crede777 View Post
Howson needs to go because he is 3 years behind the trend.

He went with "Hitch hockey" (clutch and grab trap play) when offense-first (think Caps / Chicago / Philly) was most effective. Then he switched styles now that Hitch hockey (Kings, Blues, Bruins) is most effective.
This isn't just a Howson thing, its a bluejackets thing... MacLean tried to go small and skilled out of the gate when the league was full of Hitchcock teams then decided to go big and slow after the new rules and the lockout.

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04-10-2012, 11:54 AM
  #110
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Ian Clark is judged by Mason's body of work - which overall was horrible. Another case of Howson relying on people with limited NHL experience.
So, not by Sanford, who at age 32 played more NHL games than at any point in his career and played better than at any point in his career....

Not by Allen York, who had extremely limited action this year in his first professional season but had several very good games at the NHL level....

No, it's by Mason and only Mason, whose issues have been very well-documented.

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04-10-2012, 11:57 AM
  #111
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So, not by Sanford, who at age 32 played more NHL games than at any point in his career and played better than at any point in his career....

Not by Allen York, who had extremely limited action this year in his first professional season but had several very good games at the NHL level....

No, it's by Mason and only Mason, whose issues have been very well-documented.
By Sanford, yes. By York? The sample size is too small.

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04-10-2012, 11:57 AM
  #112
CapnCornelius
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This is just ridiculous. Edmonton had to draft a superstar even though NO stars were selected all those years after the Oilers 1st round pick? Howson had to find something that didn't exist? There's only 5-6 real superstars total in the NHL and off course Houson had to find one in 2002-06 for Edmonton.
Edmonton's drafting was terrible for a long time before Howson even became GM assistant. The highest pick Edmonton had all those years (2002-06) was 14th! All the superstars were waiting for Edmonton to pick them up? Can you make a little research and find a SINGLE superstar that was drafted after Edmonton's 1st round picks?!!!
Poor Howson! There's just never been a single difference-making player available when he drafts! Edmonton could not have used a goalie like Cam Ward. Forwards like Corey Perry or Mike Richards. Travis Zajac or Mike Green. Forwards like Paul Stastny and Milan Lucic. Nope, every time the poor, hapless Oilers came up in the draft those years, there was no one left to take.

Quote:
You obviously can't accept the fact that for 3 years in a row Blue Jackets drafting was head and shoulders better than Boston's. Cause that doesn't support your position.
And I just showed you why your whole argument is flawed. There was nothing special about the Jackets drafting in those years...the Bruins just sucked. And they could get away with it because they had a stellar draft in 2006. Not to mention that teh Bruins play in a big market and as such have an advantage when it comes to free agency. So again, your point is what exactly about Howson's drafting?

Show me some stats comparing him to all 30 NHL teams during the last 5 years. That's the relevant pool and the relevant period. Not some cherry picked crap about 3 years and one other team in the league.

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04-10-2012, 11:59 AM
  #113
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
So, not by Sanford, who at age 32 played more NHL games than at any point in his career and played better than at any point in his career....

Not by Allen York, who had extremely limited action this year in his first professional season but had several very good games at the NHL level....

No, it's by Mason and only Mason, whose issues have been very well-documented.
But the top reason Clark was hired wasn't to help develop goaltenders in the system.... It was to "fix" Mason. Do you think they would've hired a full time goaltending coach if Mason had been lighting it up the previous few seasons?

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04-10-2012, 12:03 PM
  #114
CapnCornelius
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So, not by Sanford, who at age 32 played more NHL games than at any point in his career and played better than at any point in his career...
Kind of an overstatement, MB. His stats are almost identical this year to 2005-06 when he played only 2 fewer games. It should be noted, as far as workload, Sanford played more games in the last 2 seasons in the AHL. So, I'm not sure that the Jacket's staff gets that much credit for Sanford's season.

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04-10-2012, 12:04 PM
  #115
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Personally, I'm ok with Howson sticking around, I think that with Patrick as a mentor, they seem to be making pretty good decisions of late. I also think most of the blame falls on Mcconnell for having no other hockey people in place except for a young gm, that is learning on the job. I definately want priest canned, especially if he was responsible for making Howson go out and trade for Carter, but also for the fact that the guy has no business being the president of the bluejackets. Like we are seeing with Patrick brought on board, the more competent minds, the better. How many times in our personal life did we have an opinion that we were set on, then after discussing it further with people that also have experience, our views may change. Howson did not have this until the middle part of last season. I also think we need to remember that when there is a culture of losing, its hard to get a new mindset, other than replacing everyone. Clearly there were some players that may have had skill, but didnt play hard. The players deserve alot of blame for this season. Hitch is a good coach, I personally dont like his style of Hockey, but St Louis with mostly the same players under Davis payne, turned into world beaters when hitch was brought in. Now I know he is a good coach, but how much had to do with the players not playing to their potential under Payne ?

For the first time, I feel we are really doing the necessary things it takes to build a sucessful franchise. Building from the goalie, and D, out. I'm also glad that we appear to be moving Nash. How did I know that when he actually applies himself, he scores like 3 goals in the final 2 games to get to 30 goals for the season. He can be amazing when he actually tries. I would rather see a team built around guys that bring it every night, and play with the energy of a Dorsett, or Atkinson, or a Jack Johnson. Especially when Nash is tying up 8 mill in payroll.

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04-10-2012, 12:04 PM
  #116
Nordique
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By Sanford, yes. By York? The sample size is too small.
Yeah, the York verdict is up in the air.

Sanford, great #3 pickup, turned out to be a real solid 1b when put in that position.

Mason again dropped the ball, and Dekanic loses a season to injury, which is a shame because he would have likely had an oppurtunity to win a #1 job had he been healthy.

Once again, things didn't look so bad going into the season between the pipes. I think it was reasonable to assume Mason would bounce back this year (like he did in the last month of the season), and if he didn't, we had a promising young net minder to get in there and see what he can do. If you had asked me in August, I'd say Howson has planned well in goal. But everything that could go wrong, pretty much did. Any future plans that involve Steve Mason as #1 are based on lunacy imo, and if I'm Howson's boss, I ask him point blank what his plans are for netminding in 12/13.

Howson is accountable, but lets remember, any GM in this league is going to have to take some chances with this team.

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04-10-2012, 12:04 PM
  #117
Mayor Bee
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Based on past history, I'm not sure we can get a better GM without massive change across the board at the management level.

Which is a better job? Taking over this organization in June 2007 or now?

I'd say 2007, easily.
You cannot be serious.

Here's the roster that you'd inherit.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...023302007.html

And here's the prospect list that you'd have.
Derick Brassard
Andrew Murray
Sergei Mozyakin
Steve Goertzen
Tim Konsorada
Jekabs Redlihs
Jeff Genovy
Marc Methot
Trevor Hendrikx
Kevin Jarman
Philippe Dupuis
Grant Clitsome
Matt Greer
Brian McGuirk
Justin Vienneau
Robert Page
Petr Pohl
Kyle Wharton
Adam Pineault
Dan LaCosta
Kirill Starkov
Derek Reinhart
Tomas Popperle
Jared Boll
Kris Russell
Steve Mason
Tom Sestito
Ben Wright
Robert Nyholm
Nick Sucharski
Maxime Frechette
Jesse Dudas
Derek Dorsett
Matt Marquardt

Good luck with that.

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04-10-2012, 12:10 PM
  #118
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Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
I find the Hitch revisionism amusing.
Read my screen name.

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Listen, I'm happy Hitch is doing well in St. Louis.
Umm.. Yeah... Right...

Chapter done, turn the page. Hitch is a great HC. The premise that he can't coach in the new NHL has been debunked. It was a foolish statement at the time, especially with the team he took into the playoffs. The problems with this team at that time were deeper than the head coach, as we confirmed later. Howson did more than contribute to his downfall. Did Hitch hold some blame? Sure, he made his fair share of mistakes. Was a head coaching change needed? No. The problems started at the top. The responsible thing would have been to allow the next GM to decide his fate.

Yeah, there is revisionism and you contribute to it.

He's in a better place. Good for him. I look forward to the next time his team struggles and the same conversations come out again.

Now, let's talk about people that are actually with the team instead of revisiting the past.

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04-10-2012, 12:11 PM
  #119
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Show me some stats comparing him to all 30 NHL teams during the last 5 years. That's the relevant pool and the relevant period. Not some cherry picked crap about 3 years and one other team in the league.
Oh man, now you're given me something to spend the rest of my day doing....why did you have to bring this up?

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Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
Kind of an overstatement, MB. His stats are almost identical this year to 2005-06 when he played only 2 fewer games. It should be noted, as far as workload, Sanford played more games in the last 2 seasons in the AHL. So, I'm not sure that the Jacket's staff gets that much credit for Sanford's season.
True, but he had some defensive defensemen in front of him. Jackman, Salvador, Brewer for part of the season, and a past-his-prime but still effective Eric Weinrich and his yellow shield.

If he'd had Clitsome, Russell, and Aaron Johnson in front of him, he'd have retired mid-season.

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04-10-2012, 12:16 PM
  #120
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
You cannot be serious.

Here's the roster that you'd inherit.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...023302007.html

And here's the prospect list that you'd have.
Derick Brassard
Andrew Murray
Sergei Mozyakin
Steve Goertzen
Tim Konsorada
Jekabs Redlihs
Jeff Genovy
Marc Methot
Trevor Hendrikx
Kevin Jarman
Philippe Dupuis
Grant Clitsome
Matt Greer
Brian McGuirk
Justin Vienneau
Robert Page
Petr Pohl
Kyle Wharton
Adam Pineault
Dan LaCosta
Kirill Starkov
Derek Reinhart
Tomas Popperle
Jared Boll
Kris Russell
Steve Mason
Tom Sestito
Ben Wright
Robert Nyholm
Nick Sucharski
Maxime Frechette
Jesse Dudas
Derek Dorsett
Matt Marquardt

Good luck with that.
With the vitirol being directed at the organization from the fans, pundits and even the media in Columbus right now? I'd still take it... I don't think its a stretch to say that everyone in this city was behind the firing of MacLean, Priest and Howson probably could've shipped everyone out without anybody batting an eyelash.... You could actually start a full rebuild when it would have been most prudent and when you had the most backing from your fans and the media.

We'd be heading into year five of that rebuild effort instead of pushing all our chips in the center last offseason in an attempt to save face from the previous 30 games of the 10-11 season by trying and spectactularly failing to make the playoffs.

Selling any kind of rebuild now with with Howson and Priest still running the show should be difficult and should be met with plenty of skepticism.... With the corporate welfare, I think its fair to say that this city DESERVES better.


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04-10-2012, 12:25 PM
  #121
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With the vitirol being directed at the organization from the fans, pundits and even the media in Columbus right now? I'd still take it... I don't think its a stretch to say that everyone in this city was behind the firing of MacLean, Priest and Howson probably could've shipped everyone out without anybody batting an eyelash.... You could actually start a full rebuild when it would have been most prudent and when you had the most backing from your fans and the media.

We'd be heading into year five of that rebuild effort instead of pushing all our chips in the center last offseason in an attempt to save face from the previous 30 games of the 10-11 season by trying and spectactularly failing to make the playoffs.
You're assuming that pitching your idea would have even gotten you a second interview in the first place.

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04-10-2012, 12:26 PM
  #122
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You're assuming that pitching your idea would have even gotten you a second interview in the first place.
Mcconnell did say that Howson had clearance to make changes when he was hired and he chose not to....

Regardless, I will agree that Howson isn't the most culpable here, Its Priest.

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04-10-2012, 12:33 PM
  #123
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Originally Posted by KeithBWhittington View Post
Mcconnell did say that Howson had clearance to make changes when he was hired and he chose not to....
....and I'm guessing he didn't because he didn't have a good enough idea of what exactly was on the roster. Everything on the NHL and AHL rosters, plus the prospects in the system, would be viewed through an Edmonton lens.

So even if there were to be a change this offseason, the exact same thing would happen. Either someone would come in and stand pat in order to assess everything over the span of a year, or a bunch of changes would be made without having a good idea of what's in place already.

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Old
04-10-2012, 12:34 PM
  #124
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Is firing the existing guy a necessary prerequisite to looking at other people? I mean, at this point Howson shouldn't exactly be under any illusions w/r/t folks' opinion of him.

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Old
04-10-2012, 12:40 PM
  #125
CapnCornelius
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Umm.. Yeah... Right...

Chapter done, turn the page. Hitch is a great HC. The premise that he can't coach in the new NHL has been debunked. It was a foolish statement at the time, especially with the team he took into the playoffs. The problems with this team at that time were deeper than the head coach, as we confirmed later. Howson did more than contribute to his downfall. Did Hitch hold some blame? Sure, he made his fair share of mistakes. Was a head coaching change needed? No. The problems started at the top. The responsible thing would have been to allow the next GM to decide his fate.

Yeah, there is revisionism and you contribute to it.

He's in a better place. Good for him. I look forward to the next time his team struggles and the same conversations come out again.

Now, let's talk about people that are actually with the team instead of revisiting the past.
We can go around and around about this all day and it won't change my opinion now from what it was then. I don't think keeping Hitchcock would have worked out here in the long run and I think giving Howson the opportunity to hire his own guy was fair.

In the end, what it illustrated is that Howson is not a capable GM--he can't pick coaches, he does a poor job at free agent signings (most especially his own), he does an overall poor job of managing the cap and a budget (the reason he was hired) and he is incapable of team building. The only part of his job he seems to have any ability at is trades and even that is a mixed bag (Jeff Carter).

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