Wednesday, May 9, 2012

F.A.N.S. offers up 1,002 signatures to CBJ

[Received in my email inbox this afternoon...presented without editing.]

F.A.N.S. Announces Over 1,000 Signatures on Petition to Remove Priest/Howson 

For A New Start (F.A.N.S.), the group behind the January 28 Fan Protest in front of Nationwide Arena, have sent a letter to Columbus Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell along with copies of petitions signed by 1,002 fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets demanding that Mike Priest and Scott Howson be immediately terminated as President and General Manger, respectively, of the team. 

Columbus, Ohio April 9, 2012 -- The organizers of For A New Start (or “F.A.N.S.”), have provided copies of the petitions signed by 1,002 fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets demanding the immediate termination of Mike Priest and Scott Howson as President and General Manager, respectively, of the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey franchise in an open letter to the team’s majority owner, John P. McConnell. The open letter raises concerns about the current management team’s ability to make a number of important decisions facing the team this off-season.

The Blue Jackets face numerous issues this off-season including what to do with the team’s star forward and Captain, Rick Nash, who requested a trade in late January, around the time fans were amassing outside of Nationwide Arena to express their disapproval of Mr. Priest and Mr. Howson. The team also has to make a determination regarding its coaching vacancy after having 4 coaches in the last 3 seasons and finishing last in the Central Division in each of those seasons.

F.A.N.S. has promised that if the President and General Manager are retained, it will continue to monitor the situation and “respond accordingly.” In addition to the fan protest, the organization has put together two sign nights recently with over 300 signs supplied to fans to take into Nationwide Arena.

[F.A.N.S. attached a copy of their letter to McConnell as well as a scan of the signed petitions.]


  1. While McConnell should be thrilled that fans still care this much, he should only accept the Priest part of the petition. Howson's Arniel hiring was inept and letting go veterans after 08-09 was a poor decision (though based on a system shift), but his only blown top draft choice was Filatov (Voracek, Filatov, Moore, Johansen, Jenner), he picked up RJ Umberger via trade, resigned him and Nash, got Wisniewski, pulled off the Carter trade, and had the savvy to get JJ out of it once it blew up in his face. Howson has been very good at pulling off significant trades, and with Craig Patrick (Or, the unconvicted criminal in the death of the Hartford Whalers) on board, the Jackets will only get savvier and better at picking up steals on the market (like Nikitin). The Jackets are starting to show signs of life on the goaltending front with the smart pickup of Sanford, plus York and Corbeil's play. There is mixed bag here, but the true judgement of Howson's system shift comes in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. Next year, if we are not significantly (i.e. at least 8-10 spots) improved, Howson should be in trouble. Hey, he's not Edmonton's GM! [clearly, draft first until every player on your team is a #1 is the best strategy possible. Salary cap? What salary cap?]

  2. When I first started typing this response, I was going to say I fully agree with the first "Anonymous". When I look back at the last few years, almost every move Scott Howson made at the time I thought , "Okay.....nice move Scotty. I like it!". This includes, LeClaire for Vermette, Jeff Carter for Jake and the pick, picking up RJ, Juice, Wiz and Letestu. I was also okay with the Nikitin for Russell trade, and trading for Tyutin. But then I thought of a few other things...a ridiculous three year dream that Mason would get better....overly-generous contracts to sub-par players, trading Chimera and Malhotra, picking up a bunch of expensive ex-captains because our current captain was not a good leader, and so-on and so-on. And on the other side of the coin, Mike Priest was able to get the Arena deal done, get the All-Star game and (with the authorization of JPMac Jr?) opened up the wallet to pick up some talent. You know what? Crap, I don't know what to believe.

    1. Let me help you here.
      Last in the Central. Dead last in the league. No noticeable success in developing our young players. (Did you notice that the Flyers had seven rookies on their PLAYOFF team?) Every season is a Chinese Fire Drill. And a culture of "SUCK" - witness the parade of ex-Jackets in the playoffs.
      I do not disagree with you on the positives, but the bottom line is that after 12 years we are no closer to having a successful organization than we were when the doors to Nationwide Arena first opened.
      I haven't had fun at a CBJ game in two years, but I've seen thousands of Pens fans, Sabers fans, Dead Thang fans have plenty of fun at our expense, in our house. And the embarrassment of having other teams' fans feel pity for us.
      There is a saying: "The opposite of love is not hate; it is apathy." This organization's management has squandered the fanatical love of it's most dedicated supporters for years. Something needs to change, and change now. There is not much time left, and the clock is ticking.

    2. Regarding Malhotra, GMSH tried to resign him, but his demands were way too high. Manny wanted $2 million. When nobody offered him anything close to that, he signed with San Jose for about $750K. Same thing happened to Raffi Torres (offered $2 mil) and Ron Hainsey, who ended up with the Thrashers on an outrageously overpriced contract.

      Nobody is going to be perfect, and I think Howson made more good moves than bad ones. His worst moves came when he was pressured to do something about the current awfulness of the team, such as when he traded Chimera and Klesla near the trading deadlines. But he's made plenty of "steal" trades, getting a 1st and a 5th for declining Adam Foote, Getting Vermette for dying LeClaire, and getting the most out of the horrible Jeff Carter situation.

    3. Priest did not get the All-Star game. The new Hilton Hotel put downtown Columbus over the minimum hotel rooms neccessary to host and All-Star Game. As soon as there were enough rooms the game would be in Columbus.

  3. I keep reading that Howson Meade a great deal getting Vermetlte for Leclaire. What everyone is forgetting is that 6 months earlier he could have had Brad Richards for Leclaire. Tampa wanted him and we were one of the teams Richards agreed to go to. He would have been the #1 center we have need all these years. He is now the leading scorer on the Rangers. But Howson didn't have the balls to do the trade, thinking that the oft injured Leclaire was the long term answer to our net problem. It is but just one of too many mistakes Howson has made. Any other team is this league would have gotten rid of hIm by now! Howson needs to go NOW!

  4. I don't worry too much about Howson, yet. Ya he's had to make up for the Carter fiasco, and yeah yeah the Kings will probably go to the finals, but how could he control what played out after the trade? On paper the Jackets weren't that bad at the start of 2011-2012, but injuries and suspensions really took a toll on everyone, most noticeably Mason. Howson could not control this at all, and was eventually backed up to the wall so much as to get rid of Arniel and free up some cap space by trading Vermy and Pahlsson. For fans it seemed as an easy way out to just fire Howson and Preist, but how would we fair with a brand new GM in the middle of the worst season in franchise history? Could we really expect a 180 degree turn in the middle of the season with brand new personnel with the giant hole in the depth chart? Even if we fired Howson at that time who would us fans choose next to blame when the train wreck was still slipping down hill? I suggest we wait this off-season to see if the Priest/Howson combo gets canned, or, if they stay, what their plans are with the roster/draft. I say after we see what kind of strategy they put into action we can judge wether or not they are deemed worthy to watch over team operations for the 2012-2013 season, cause we all know it may be too far in the deep to turn around if next season is not significantly better than this past one. We can all agree that if the losing records continue, there will be significant changes in front office.


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