There is a lot to process in this announcement, so I thought it best to break it all down, 5 Thoughts- style.
1. First, the surprise/shock element. I totally appreciate that the times dictated that Howson was fired, but could anyone have predicted that Howson's roster and the Howson-developed talent pool would perform the way it has since he left town? Not me. I figured that the team was going to tank for the balance of the season. Instead, the boys in Union Blue are in sole possession of 8th place...above the playoff qualification line. Which shows why I'm a blogger and Howson is back in charge on Nationwide Boulevard.
2. Then there's the loyalty component. You have to appreciate the powerful sphere of influence around the new Mr. Mac. Once you are under his wing, it's pretty clear that you never leave. Even when you get fired and then hired by your old team as a scout. Yeah, that's John P. for you. Kinda reminds me of this classic line:
3. Now, the title. Senior President of Hockey Operations? I'm looking forward to learning more about what this means, seeing as the announcement was so sparse on precise job responsibilities. I mean, it's reasonable to assume that Howson will have John Davidson reporting to him, which is fine as Davidson has largely just been doing public relations (and firing his new boss).
And if JD's now under Howson, then you have to presume that Jarmo Kekäläinen will also report to Howson. I really like this aspect of the move. Jarmo's got quite the body of work as a scout from his time in Ottawa and St. Louis, and a real NHL GM-type at the top means that Jarmo can hit the road and make sure that no stone is unturned as Howson 5.0 kicks off.
|Why the long face, Vinny?|
The deal's probably back on!
OK, I'll go there, but I'll tread lightly on this: Appreciating that Mr. Mac clearly has sway with his human capital assets, is it safe to guess that Prospal's phone call was a last-ditch effort to try to get that sweetheart "gentleman's agreement" back on track? You know, the one where Prospal plays until he retires and then jumps up to the front office? Anything's possible with these Columbus New Jackets!
And Johnson's so totally the type of guy that you can build a team around, especially for a cap-ologist like Howson. I mean, let's be real. If you have a guy who can munch 40 minutes a night on the blue line for a relatively measly $4.3 million per season, that works out to $2.15 per season for a two normal 20-minute defensemen. With the cap dropping back next season, that's the type of shrewd dollar investment that puts a guy like our Roster Ninja back where he apparently belongs.
Now, to find the forward who can pull down 30 minutes a night and, in the process, score 50 goals a season. That would be like two Mark Letestus!
IN SUMMARY: This was a bold, bold move by John P. McConnell, totally indicative of his unwavering loyalty to those who are loyal to him. At the same time, Mr. Mac isn't afraid to override the mistakes of his other hires and give the respect to the man who built this dynamo of a team. The Battle is Rejoined, just in time to March On to the playoffs!