Thursday, March 18, 2010

Timing is everything

Get this, courtesy of the Dispatch's Aaron Portzline:
#CBJ president Mike Priest confirms to The Dispatch: the Blue Jackets and Nationwide Arena have applied to host the 2013 NHL All-Star Game
It's an interesting story, but not for the reasons that we would automatically think.  In fact, it's not even a new story.  The Fan's Lori Schmidt points that out:
Reminder: As we told you this February, Columbus has not only applied for 2013 NHL All Star game, but also the 2013 or 2014 Frozen Four.
So why the mention today?  I can see three potential reasons...

  1. The Jackets and Nationwide may have just submitted some formal paperwork to apply for the game.  In my amateur opinion, makes this a newsworthy item - but it was not mentioned in Portzline's Puck Rakers followup.
  2. Portzline may have not known about that which Schmidt knew in February.  There have been plenty of stories related to the Columbus Blue Jackets swirling, with on-ice performance (and lack of), firing a coach, installing an interim, the forthcoming coaching search, the Olympics, that pesky Arena District matter and assorted personnel matters keeping the many CBJ media mavens busy.  That one slips between the cracks is perfectly excusable.
  3. Priest used this news item to put a lid on the team ownership rumor promulgated by Rich Sandomir and Ken Belson of the New York Times.  
I think I've covered the first two items, so permit me to adjust my tinfoil hat and expound on the third.  

The Jackets apparently have a policy of not commenting on rumors - even rumors coming from The Gray Lady.  And let's presume that Mayor Coleman's recent statement about the future of the Arena District as an indication that we're getting closer to a positive resolution to the whole CBJ-Nationwide Arena-Arena District mess, something the Jackets probably would want to support.  And season ticket package telemarketing is tacking place right now - a delicate time for a team whose level of disappointment (underachievement?) this season was rather high.  And then the Times drops that little bomb in its story...what's the CBJ to do?

Easy - You offer a news tidbit that indirectly reassures the public that the team is committed to Columbus.  A mention that the Jackets are working toward something so significant yet a full three years away - in Columbus - is a perfect way to gently deliver that message.

We all know that team ownership and team (re)location really are two separate matters, but both matters directly speak to team stability.  Ticket holders want to see a stable ownership that is committed to winning.  I would think that prospective free agents wouldn't mind the same thing.  So while the New York Times had its say, it appears that the Jackets had theirs, too.  

I won't lie, I'm concerned about the potential of the team moving.  I'm also concerned that the "new" Mr. Mac may not be unconditionally committed to the Blue Jackets like his father was.  So I'll take any sign of commitment whenever it comes.  

Yeah, timing is everything.  Good for the Jackets to do what they've done.  

(Also, a Columbus NHL All-Star Game is a damned cool idea, too.)

1 comment:

  1. A few days later, and the answer reveals itself. Amazing how the world works sometimes, isn't it?

    On the heels of yet another successful Arnold event, bring lots of people and revenue into town, the CBJ Brass mention that they have put in to host the All Star game in 2013.

    That news sits out there for a few days so everyone can catch wind of it. The city feels good about it, the city leaders especially. It will be their time to shine.

    After all this has soaked in, the NHL offices says we aren't going to be granted a game until the arena lease deal is settled.

    I see this as the NHL's way of 'not interfering', yet still finding a way to make sure things work out in their favor. They do not want to have things fail here, as it will mean that they failed when they chose Columbus for expansion. There have been too many failures in the latest rounds of expansion, they dont need any more.

    While I want the CBJ to stay here, and I would love to see the All-Star game here, I see this as a poorly executed ploy to force the city's hand.


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