Monday, April 1, 2013

DBJ's 5 Thoughts on the Howson re-hiring

He's back!
In case you missed it, Columbus Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell announced this morning that former Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson has been brought back to the team in a newly-created position, Senior President of Hockey Operations.

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!
4. But what to make of the Vinny Prospal angle? Can you believe that Vinny really picked up the phone at Mr. Mac's request and begged Howson to come back to Columbus?  I'll be fair and agree that "begged" is probably a bit strong, but clearly the Prospal-Howson conversation went a long way toward swaying Howson out of the Super 8 in Toledo where he was wrapping up his scouting reports from the NCAA tournament for the Oilers.

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!

Hell yeah.
5. Lastly, Howson's guarantee to get the burning question of who's going to be CBJ captain out of the way ASAP.  LOVE IT.  And when he says that he's not going to pick just anyone from the roster but rather someone who's been a captain before...could he really mean Jack Johnson? Was anyone else a captain in their past hockey experience? Hope not, for I can't wait to get my CBJ swag with the "Captain America" shield blazing on the chest.

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!


  1. Thanks! I needed a good laugh this morning!

  2. Even though its April Fools Day the torst thing is that this is the CBJ and it wouldn't surprise me...

  3. Not sure which made me more queasy -- this article or seeing Kevin Ware's injury. Not funny, DBJ! Hehehehe :D

  4. Dude, that is just so...... wrong.

    On so many levels......wrong.

  5. Breaking, Blue Jackets trade Bobrovsky for Bryzgalov, Voracek and Courturier, Anisimov for Nash, Murray for RNH, Brassard for Crosby, and... wait for it... RJ Umberger for Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux!