Thursday, March 25, 2010

Goodbye, Syracuse

I was going to leave the whole "Columbus Blue Jackets parts ways with its farm team" story alone largely because the Syracuse Crunch have not been of much consequence to the fortunes of the CBJ this season.  Whether that's because of the Jackets' less-than stellar drafting, Jackets Assistant GM Chris MacFarland's eye for minor league talent - he's the one responsible for stocking the team's AHL affiliate, I understand - or because of the coaching that just has not developed many NHL-caliber players, I don't really care.  Point is, Columbus has been doing their thing, Syracuse has been doing their thing, and ne'er the twain shall meet.

(One big exception: The Crunch did a bang-up job promoting the AHL and themselves in their Outdoor Classic.  I can't praise the Crunch ownership and management for pulling that off, especially for putting together the Dark Blue Jacket Television Broadcasting Dream Team in Bob McElligott and Danny Gare.)

The Syracuse Post-Standard has a Syracuse Crunch hockey blog that is staffed by the paper's Crunch beat writer, Lindsay Kramer.  Since I started reading that blog (was it in 2008?), it's been clear to me that Kramer has not been thrilled with how Columbus has handled the Crunch.  I'm not going to cite chapter and verse; you've got the blog link, go poke around and see for yourself.

The root of the matter as I understand it is that the Blue Jackets look at the Crunch as a component in their talent feeder system, wins and losses be damned.  Kramer views the Crunch as a competitive hockey franchise.  Perhaps Crunch owner Howard Dolgon looks at it that way, too.  I don't know.  Regardless, that reflects two very different ways of looking at the purpose of the minor leagues.  When you look at it from Kramer's perspective, there's a legitimate beef with Columbus.  I'll grant him that on the merits, but the way in which that opinion has played out by this supposedly professional newspaper reporter leaves plenty to be desired.

Today's post by Kramer about the announcement of Blue Jackets' new AHL affiliation with the Springfield Falcons goes well beyond editorializing and into the realm of insult.  After a nice, tasteful, rah-rah piece about how the Crunch are affiliating with the Anaheim Ducks (No, the fact that the announcements were made on the same day is not lost on me...), Kramer had the gall to write this:
 The funny thing is, [Falcons GM Bruce] Landon, one of the AHL's best guys, is a close friend of Syracuse owner Howard Dolgon. I asked Dolgon if he felt like telling his buddy to run, run, run from the Blue Jackets as quickly as he could. 
"Bruce will make his own decisions, just like we will,'' Dolgon said. "I'm not going to make anyone's decisions for them.'' 
To be fair to Landon, he was left in the cold when Edmonton announced it was leaving. He's a loyal guy trying to make it work in that market and I'm sure he didn't exactly have a lot of options.

As I grit my teeth any try to be fair, I'll offer kudos to Howard Dolgon for taking the high road as he severs his ties with the Blue Jackets.  In fact, Dolgon is going above and beyond:
  • In one post, Dolgon said of cutting the cord, "“There’s some sadness involved. ... From a player standpoint, and the people we’ve come in contact with, it’s been a great experience.”
  • In another, Kramer notes:
  • [Dolgon] also said the team might bring back some former players and Blue Jackets front office officials for a farewell ceremony at one of the remaining home games this season. 
    “There’s no animosity (toward Columbus),” Dolgon said. “We want to be able to wrap this era up and do it in the right way.”
So while Howard Dolgon is suggesting that the Crunch end things with Columbus in a manner befitting a professional sports franchise, Kramer is suggesting (hopefully in jest, but I honestly can't tell considering his blog history) that Dolgon poison the well between Columbus and Springfield.

Kramer blurs the line between reporter and low-class blogger worse than most every beat writer I've ever read.  The fact that I don't side with him on the role of minor league sports doesn't help one bit.  The fact that he uses his blog to slam Columbus - going as far as to suggest that Dolgon tell Springfield to run away from the Blue Jackets - is ridiculous.

So goodbye, Syracuse.  Mr. Dolgon, it's been a pleasure to watch you do business.  You're an incredible entrepreneur.  As for you, Mr. Kramer, I look forward to reading the Springfield Falcons beat writers as quickly as I can.


  1. Should I be scared that the Falcon's are also Edmonton's farm team? Geez, this would had made my day if Lake Erie was mentioned instead.

  2. I believe that Monsters have 2 years left on their current affiliation with Colorado. That the Jackets have a 1-year deal, with a 1-year option, on their affiliation with Springfield is not lost on me.

  3. the jackets will be the 'winners' in this particular situation i believe (i.e. two years down the road), the crunch....just 'wieners'!


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