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Tickled Pink? Season-10 Progress-0

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04-09-2011, 09:27 PM
  #1
CapnCornelius
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Tickled Pink? Season-10 Progress-0

And so it ends. The Jackets finished with a less-than-Fan-tastic-Fan-ale to end the season with a record of 34-35-13. The team's second highest point total ever for those that want to pretend this season represented some sort of progress. But, let's get real:

The total of 34 wins shouldn't look to unfamiliar. Last year they managed 32. The great Gerard Gallant managed 35 in 2005-06 with a team that was truly a rogue's gallery. That season also marked the best the Jackets have ever finished in their division--3rd.

Ken Hitchcock, the future Hall of Famer, managed to break the 34 win mark just once in his time with the Jackets--I think you remember what season I'm talking about.

The Jackets will finish this season in 5th place in the Central for the second consecutive season. A fete they last accomplished in Year 3. Their goals for and goals against are practically identical to last season despite a complete change in coaching strategy. For that matter, it is pretty similar to...the goals for and goals against they had in Year 3. Pre-lockout.

The Jackets will be in familiar drafting territory. Drafting between #6-8 has been a common occurrence for the Jackets. What did they get to show for those picks? Pascal LeClaire, Alexandre Picard, Gilbert Brule, Derick Brassard, Jake Voracek, and Nikita Filatov. Picked by the same scouts that will make this year's decision. So, you excited for the draft as I am? The Jackets have picked worse than 8th once in their entire history. Again, I think you remember the season I'm talking about. With one exception, their reward for the really bad years where they picked higher than 6-8 was the #4 pick. So, consistency is our forte. Unfortunately, it is not the kind of consistency that builds a fan base.

Our current GM's two biggest free agent acquisitions may well not be on the team come opening night. Mike Commodore will be bought out. Kristian Huselius will be traded if Howson can find a dance partner. Are you as excited for July 1st as I am?

Doug MacLean infamously stated that the fans of this team would be "tickled pink" if the team were .500. Well, we just finished one game below .500. Are you tickled pink?

If not, rest assured that changes "may" be coming. Just not at the highest levels of management. And just not in the form of a major free agent acquisition. Or in the form of a franchise-changing #1 draft pick for that matter. They'd tell you the answer is in the room, but they've heard you are kind of sick of hearing that line.

The motto for next year is--Welcome Visiting Fans!


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04-09-2011, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
And so it ends. The Jackets finished with a less-than-Fan-tastic-Fan-ale to end the season with a record of 34-35-13. The team's second highest point total ever for those that want to pretend this season represented some sort of progress. But, let's get real:

The total of 34 wins shouldn't look to unfamiliar. Last year they managed 32. The great Gerard Gallant managed 35 in 2005-06 with a team that was truly a rogue's gallery. That season also marked the best the Jackets have ever finished in their division--3rd.

Ken Hitchcock, the future Hall of Famer, managed to break the 34 win mark just once in his time with the Jackets--I think you remember what season I'm talking about.

The Jackets will finish this season in 5th place in the Central for the second consecutive season. A fete they last accomplished in Year 3. Their goals for and goals against are practically identical to last season despite a complete change in coaching strategy. For that matter, it is pretty similar to...the goals for and goals against they had in Year 3. Pre-lockout.

The Jackets will be in familiar drafting territory. Drafting between #6-8 has been a common occurrence for the Jackets. What did they get to show for those picks? Pascal LeClaire, Alexandre Picard, Gilbert Brule, Derick Brassard, Jake Voracek, and Nikita Filatov. Picked by the same scouts that will make this year's decision. So, you excited for the draft as I am? The Jackets have picked worse than 8th once in their entire history. Again, I think you remember the season I'm talking about. With one exception, their reward for the really bad years where they picked higher than 6-8 was the #4 pick. So, consistency is our forte. Unfortunately, it is not the kind of consistency that builds a fan base.

Our current GM's two biggest free agent acquisitions may well not be on the team come opening night. Mike Commodore will be bought out. Kristian Huselius will be traded if Howson can find a dance partner. Are you as excited for July 1st as I am?

Doug MacLean infamously stated that the fans of this team would be "tickled pink" if the team were .500. Well, we just finished one game below .500. Are you tickled pink?

If not, rest assured that changes "may" be coming. Just not at the highest levels of management. And just not in the form of a major free agent acquisition. Or in the form of a franchise-changing #1 draft pick for that matter. They'd tell you the answer is in the room, but they've heard you are kind of sick of hearing that line.

The motto for next year is--Welcome Visiting Fans!

I can't wait to trade that pick for something that can help us now.

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Old
04-09-2011, 09:53 PM
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It really is amazing that this team hasn't changed its scouting staff.

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04-09-2011, 09:56 PM
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It really is amazing that this team hasn't changed its scouting staff.
I expect sweeping changes in this area during the summer.

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04-09-2011, 09:59 PM
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Capn, I'm curious if your position is that something could happen July 1, will happen July 1, or that nothing will happen but minor moves.

It would surprise me if you really honestly believe there's no difference between this off season and last off season, and that Howson is literally dumb enough or stubborn enough to do nothing yet again.

What moves make Fan Cornelius happy this offseason, assuming management and coaching do not change? Is any move other than firing Howson going to make you optimistic?

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04-09-2011, 10:01 PM
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I'm curious to hear what could happen this summer to make Capn be a believer in this franchise, this town or our media?

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04-09-2011, 10:07 PM
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I'm curious to hear what could happen this summer to make Capn be a believer in this franchise, this town or our media?
Moving the team to Kansas City?

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04-09-2011, 10:11 PM
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If you have absolutely nothing but disdain left for the franchise, perhaps it's time to move on?

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04-09-2011, 10:27 PM
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If you have absolutely nothing but disdain left for the franchise, perhaps it's time to move on?

Hmm.

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And so it ends.

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04-09-2011, 11:25 PM
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It's doubtful that ownership will fire Priest or Howson and even if the scouting staff is changed it won't impact next season. Significant player changes is the only thing that can be done, in so doing the team will probably be set back a season to integrate these new players into Arniels system and themselves.

Season ticket sales will probably decline to critical levels next season, if the Jackets don't play well enough to impact game day attendance I don't see how McConnell can hold on to his team-unless he has deep pockets.

The Jackets did not play well after thanksgiving but for the most part they made up that lost ground going into the trade deadline, the post trade deadline collapse is what killed the season and someone needs to find out why then act accordingly.

Few teams can absorb two major slumps and succeed, do this next season and I doubt there will be enough CBJ revenue to maintain financial solvency.


Last edited by Robert: 04-09-2011 at 11:38 PM.
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04-10-2011, 12:13 AM
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It took nothing short of a herculean lack of effort to finish under .500. All they needed to do was win something like 4 games of the last 22 and they couldnt even manage that.

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04-10-2011, 01:14 AM
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The team has made significant progress in the prospect department. Other than that? I don't know. We will see what the future has in store for this franchise sooner rather than later at least.

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04-10-2011, 03:33 AM
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CapnCornelius
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Originally Posted by FANonymous View Post
If you have absolutely nothing but disdain left for the franchise, perhaps it's time to move on?
If there is any "disdain" it is eminating from the ownership/management/media towards the fans this franchise. It is insulting that they think they can p*ss down our backs and tell us its raining. When Howson said he was comfortable going into the season with the defense as is, there was a collective groan from the fans.

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Originally Posted by cbjpointman View Post
Moving the team to Kansas City?
I've lived through seeing one NHL team moved from Ohio, and I'd prefer to not see it happen again. Which is exactly why I screamed last year that this bufoon of a GM needed to act with some urgency. Now the hole is dug deeper. While I don't think there is any immediacy to the possible of the team moving (the Coyotes haven't moved yet and their situation is much further along), the longer this goes on, the more it becomes a possibility.

Acting like this team doesn't have problems, ain't going to solve them. It isn't the die hard fans that keep teams in business, it is the casual/fairweather fans. Those fans are not coming back without a significant change.

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Originally Posted by leesmith View Post
I'm curious to hear what could happen this summer to make Capn be a believer in this franchise, this town or our media?
Let's get one thing straight, Lee--I'm a big believer in the City and the People of Columbus. Which is precisely why I'm not happy with the franchise that I feel is letting them down and the media which I believe is nothing more than a mouthpiece for said franchise.

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Capn, I'm curious if your position is that something could happen July 1, will happen July 1, or that nothing will happen but minor moves.

It would surprise me if you really honestly believe there's no difference between this off season and last off season, and that Howson is literally dumb enough or stubborn enough to do nothing yet again.

What moves make Fan Cornelius happy this offseason, assuming management and coaching do not change? Is any move other than firing Howson going to make you optimistic?
Now onto the real heart of the matter.

Dumb enough or stubborn enough? No. Incompetent enough? Jury's still out.

Howson can want to make big moves. That doesn't mean he'll ultimately be able to do so. This situation is very reminiscent of the off-season that preceded the playoff year. Only, to be honest, it may be worse.

Howson has cost us a season. He's dug us a hole. Instead of needing a couple tweaks, the team now needs significant surgery. If he had got at least one defenseman of worth last season, that'd be one less defenseman we'd need right now.

Now, as I see it, we need 2 top 4 defenseman. At least one goalie capable of being a 1A or at minimum a 1B. We need bottom 6 scoring depth. And, of course, the obligatory #1 center.

In addition, we will most certainly be buying out Mike Commodore which will cost us a cap hit of around $1.3 Million next season just to have him not play.

Let's start with the defense. Howson needs both a stay-at-home defenseman capable of playing with his young players to cover for the mistakes they'll inevitably make and a veteran capable of manning the power play.

Some combination of the following would be ideal if you have to go the UFA route: Wisniewski, Bieksa, Pitkanen (bleh), Markov, Jovanovski, Brewer, Babchuk, Randy Jones, Jonathan Ericsson, Andy Greene. I'm not even going to get into the idea of Ehrhoff. It isn't happening. If Vancouver doesn't lock him down, he's going to go somewhere else he can play for both money and a Cup. The world is his oyster, forget about it.

Bieksa seems a likely Howson target given (1) last summer's trade rumors, (2) the sheer number of UFA defenseman Vancouver has and the fact that Ehrhoff is the guy they are going to focus on keeping the most and will have to sacrifice 1 or 2 others in the process. Other than that, it is hard to say. Personally, I'd go after Wisniewski. I'll admit--I was wrong about him. He has grown a lot this past year. He's the one guy out of the bunch other than Jovanovski who plays on that edge where he borders on being dirty, and that's not a bad thing from a defenseman. And he's still got a lot of years ahead of him.

Goaltending is not plentiful via free agency. What is available is either going to cost too much (Vokoun, Bryzgalov) or will be a crap shoot (Theodore, Harding, Boucher, Emery). Trading may be a better option. The question is, who is going to be willing to trade?

As far as forward depth, outside of keeping Upshall in the fold, I'd kick tires on a guy like Brooks Laich if the price was right. And I'd consider acquiring former farm hand Zenon Kenopka--never a bad idea to have a guy who is capable in the faceoff circle to play on the 4th line. If we had Konopka, Pahlsson and Vermette, we'd be the toughest team in the league in the faceoff circle.

With all of the above said, I think the off-season is going to have to start early. Meaning Howson had best make a move in the hours leading up to the draft. If he has any hope of acquiring UFA's, he's going to have to set the tone on or before draft day, making a statement not just to fans, but to potential free agents that the Jackets are serious about improving. And he's going to have to move some pieces in the process. If Colorado is in fact interested in Steve Mason and Paul Stastny is in fact a piece they'd consider parting with, figure out a trade. If the Rangers would trade Del Zotto for Voracek, consider it. The focus shouldn't be on one transaction, it should be on the end product--4 solid lines, 3 solid defensive pairings, 2 dependable goaltenders.

But he must be bold and it must be sooner in the proceedings than later. Otherwise, he may well end up with similar results to last season even if he has the best of intentions.

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04-10-2011, 03:54 AM
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Stastny for Mason? Done Done and more Done.

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04-10-2011, 03:56 AM
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....and pretty much ANYTHING for Jake is a good return. Somebody else take The Loose Caboose please.

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04-10-2011, 06:16 AM
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long
+1

The percentage of players playing their first game as a Blue Jacket on opening night 2011 needs to be about 50%

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04-10-2011, 07:15 AM
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Yes of course and uh-huh.
Now we wait.
Familiar story.

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04-10-2011, 11:16 AM
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I expect sweeping changes in this area during the summer.
If Don Boyd and Paul Castron remain with this team after this offseason, expect me to be less than "Tickled Pink"

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04-10-2011, 11:36 AM
  #19
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Book recommendation.

Funny, my enjoyment of the game went way way up when I was away from these boards. Maybe some of the folks here should try the same.

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04-10-2011, 11:48 AM
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CapnCornelius
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Yes of course and uh-huh.
Now we wait.
Familiar story.
Waiting implies expectation. I have none. This GM has failed to deliver far too often.

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04-10-2011, 11:54 AM
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Book recommendation.

Funny, my enjoyment of the game went way way up when I was away from these boards. Maybe some of the folks here should try the same.
Either that or some Prozac...

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04-10-2011, 11:59 AM
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Book recommendation.

Funny, my enjoyment of the game went way way up when I was away from these boards. Maybe some of the folks here should try the same.
Losing isn't any more fun away from a message board, why would it be more enjoyable?? unless you meant hockey in general and not just the CBJ.

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04-10-2011, 12:16 PM
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Losing isn't any more fun away from a message board, why would it be more enjoyable?? unless you meant hockey in general and not just the CBJ.
Because there at least the not-fun parts don't get reinforced over and over and over with overly broad statements like "zero progress has been made" and whipping other fans into an angry/depressed/frustrated frenzy. It's well beyond "commiseration".

The obvious question is if one has nothing but disdain and lack of hope left, why stick around and keep spreading that to others? It suggests that this isn't actually the true state of mind - that certain parties keep coming back because they really do have hope but can't bear to admit it in the face of things not going according to plan.

Either that, or they're just determined to bring everyone down with them. But that would be trolling and evil, and I figure moderators would be on that immediately. Since they aren't, I guess that's not accurate. Thank goodness for that!

I mean, seriously. I see the same sort of "woe is us" "we'll never amount to anything" madness from Preds fans who are concerned about their playoff record. I've seen it from Red Wings fans who are pissed they didn't win the Cup this year. I maintain that it's silly and inappropriate no matter what the circumstances are. It's always possible to be bitter about not being any better than you currently are.

I can't say I'm pleased with how the season ended, but I got to be entertained along the way. Not in ideal form - I would've vastly preferred wins and a playoff berth - but it was still there.

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04-10-2011, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
If there is any "disdain" it is eminating from the ownership/management/media towards the fans this franchise. It is insulting that they think they can p*ss down our backs and tell us its raining. When Howson said he was comfortable going into the season with the defense as is, there was a collective groan from the fans.



I've lived through seeing one NHL team moved from Ohio, and I'd prefer to not see it happen again. Which is exactly why I screamed last year that this bufoon of a GM needed to act with some urgency. Now the hole is dug deeper. While I don't think there is any immediacy to the possible of the team moving (the Coyotes haven't moved yet and their situation is much further along), the longer this goes on, the more it becomes a possibility.

Acting like this team doesn't have problems, ain't going to solve them. It isn't the die hard fans that keep teams in business, it is the casual/fairweather fans. Those fans are not coming back without a significant change.



Let's get one thing straight, Lee--I'm a big believer in the City and the People of Columbus. Which is precisely why I'm not happy with the franchise that I feel is letting them down and the media which I believe is nothing more than a mouthpiece for said franchise.



Now onto the real heart of the matter.

Dumb enough or stubborn enough? No. Incompetent enough? Jury's still out.

Howson can want to make big moves. That doesn't mean he'll ultimately be able to do so. This situation is very reminiscent of the off-season that preceded the playoff year. Only, to be honest, it may be worse.

Howson has cost us a season. He's dug us a hole. Instead of needing a couple tweaks, the team now needs significant surgery. If he had got at least one defenseman of worth last season, that'd be one less defenseman we'd need right now.

Now, as I see it, we need 2 top 4 defenseman. At least one goalie capable of being a 1A or at minimum a 1B. We need bottom 6 scoring depth. And, of course, the obligatory #1 center.

In addition, we will most certainly be buying out Mike Commodore which will cost us a cap hit of around $1.3 Million next season just to have him not play.

Let's start with the defense. Howson needs both a stay-at-home defenseman capable of playing with his young players to cover for the mistakes they'll inevitably make and a veteran capable of manning the power play.

Some combination of the following would be ideal if you have to go the UFA route: Wisniewski, Bieksa, Pitkanen (bleh), Markov, Jovanovski, Brewer, Babchuk, Randy Jones, Jonathan Ericsson, Andy Greene. I'm not even going to get into the idea of Ehrhoff. It isn't happening. If Vancouver doesn't lock him down, he's going to go somewhere else he can play for both money and a Cup. The world is his oyster, forget about it.

Bieksa seems a likely Howson target given (1) last summer's trade rumors, (2) the sheer number of UFA defenseman Vancouver has and the fact that Ehrhoff is the guy they are going to focus on keeping the most and will have to sacrifice 1 or 2 others in the process. Other than that, it is hard to say. Personally, I'd go after Wisniewski. I'll admit--I was wrong about him. He has grown a lot this past year. He's the one guy out of the bunch other than Jovanovski who plays on that edge where he borders on being dirty, and that's not a bad thing from a defenseman. And he's still got a lot of years ahead of him.

Goaltending is not plentiful via free agency. What is available is either going to cost too much (Vokoun, Bryzgalov) or will be a crap shoot (Theodore, Harding, Boucher, Emery). Trading may be a better option. The question is, who is going to be willing to trade?

As far as forward depth, outside of keeping Upshall in the fold, I'd kick tires on a guy like Brooks Laich if the price was right. And I'd consider acquiring former farm hand Zenon Kenopka--never a bad idea to have a guy who is capable in the faceoff circle to play on the 4th line. If we had Konopka, Pahlsson and Vermette, we'd be the toughest team in the league in the faceoff circle.

With all of the above said, I think the off-season is going to have to start early. Meaning Howson had best make a move in the hours leading up to the draft. If he has any hope of acquiring UFA's, he's going to have to set the tone on or before draft day, making a statement not just to fans, but to potential free agents that the Jackets are serious about improving. And he's going to have to move some pieces in the process. If Colorado is in fact interested in Steve Mason and Paul Stastny is in fact a piece they'd consider parting with, figure out a trade. If the Rangers would trade Del Zotto for Voracek, consider it. The focus shouldn't be on one transaction, it should be on the end product--4 solid lines, 3 solid defensive pairings, 2 dependable goaltenders.

But he must be bold and it must be sooner in the proceedings than later. Otherwise, he may well end up with similar results to last season even if he has the best of intentions.
All of this. I told my ticket rep I'm walking away, and so I have.

Adieu, CBJ. You were a grand experiment. And an expensive one.

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04-10-2011, 12:57 PM
  #25
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CapCorn, I think you analysis of what's needed and suggestions for how to fill the holes are excellent. I might disagree with a piece, here or there (not a big fan of re-signing Upshall, for instance), but you've done a good job of making realistic proposals. Now we wait.

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