Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The CBJ housecleaning continues in the most obvious place

Let's play pretend.  The Dark Blue Kiddo plays pretend a lot, so I've got a little practice at this (although I'm not a member of the "Cars 2" community, granted).

You're starting off as a brand new NHL general manager.  Your team is not good, and - worse yet - your talent development cupboard is darned close to bare.  You start drafting a little better (or perhaps I should say not as badly as the last guy), and - two weeks into your new job - you assign a relatively recent NHL retiree to serve as a player development coach across the entire organization.  

Time moves along, and your team peaks for a brief moment on the backs of a handful of veteran players.  You make the decision that those old goats don't have gas in the tank, so you jettison them and start promoting the kids.  But the kids can't live up to their considerable hype, so that doesn't go well...like not well at all.  The knives come out, and the ones not directed straight at you are directed at the one place you haven't meaningfully addressed since coming to town - the scouting staff.  

You start purging the scouting staff, but now you need a top amateur scout.  


If you're Scott Howson, you promote the player development coach - the same guy who's been largely ineffectual in helping develop the talent you have on hand - Tyler Wright.  

I'm not saying that Wright was good at his job as the CBJ's director of amateur scouting, nor am I saying that he was bad.  But I will say that Wright jumped from offering tips and pointers (and hopefully offering the kids a shoulder to cry on every now and then) to helping strategically determine the long-term future of the Blue Jackets franchise.  That's insane.  I don't care what anyone says about Wright, that's insane.  

For a team that could not draft to save its life (and one that has a woeful record in developing the kids that it drafts), you just don't do that.  You go out to the market, you find a top NHL amateur scout, and you give him an offer he can't refuse.  You lure him with the promise of titles, responsibilities and money.  And you secure your drafting future for the next decade in the process.  

But no, that's not what Howson did.  He gave the gig to Wright, a guy who had never worked as an actual scout, and one whose work product results from his prior CBJ job could be called "spotty" by only the most optimistic of observers.  

And yesterday, it was announced that Jarmo Kekalainen, a guy with actual scouting and talent evaluation ability, greased the wheels for Wright to leave the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Jarmo now can install his own person as director of amateur scouting and, presumably, redesign the scouting department to better meet the needs of a genuine NHL club.

Thank God.

1 comment:

  1. DBJ: what was the biggest Achilles Heel of the organ-I-zation for the prior oh, 4-5 years? Development - and you PROMOTE him? Is anybody HOOOMME?

    It's like I've said about what Howson SHOULD have done with hiring a goalie coach - you find out what Sean Burke is being paid and you DOUBLE or TRIPLE it! It's worth the investment!

    And this is why this was a 3rd World Country of an organ-I-zation and it's no longer (and EDM now is)...


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