Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why is Scott Howson not in THN's "100 People of Power"?

I received my digital copy of The Hockey News' January 17, 2011 edition - the "100 People of Power and Influence" issue - and was surprised to see that Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson was nowhere to be found on the list.

When teams start panicking in April because they are sitting
on the playoff bubble with a bunch of shootout wins, they have
one man to thank.  And that man apparently is not one of the
100 top people of power in the world of hockey.
Let's look past his work with Columbus (because we understand that CBJ business largely is not of interest to the hockey world) and instead consider his larger impact on the National Hockey League.  Howson has been shrewdly maneuvering to increase the importance of actual hockey play in the standings and, as a result, decrease the importance of shootouts.  First, he proposed that shootout winners only get 1.5 points instead of 2 points.  That concept didn't gain the GMs' approval.

Howson didn't pound his fist and stomp his feet like Brian Burke (THN ranking: 11), who has been flailing around since 2006 to change the rules such that teams can trade salary cap dollars and is getting nowhere fast.  No, Howson did what he does so well...he learned from the experience and changed his stance to make progress toward his goal.  And guess what?  It worked.

Now, because of Scott Howson, shootout wins will not count when breaking ties in the standings.  He proposed the idea in March, and it received full approval in August.  This is an important change in the way the game is played - it forces coaches whose teams are questionable playoff qualifiers to "go for it" when they may have sat back and waited for the shootout in years past.

While I'm thinking about it - Besides the "head shot rule," which gave us THN's #27 (Pens goon Matt Cooke), were ANY other rule changes passed over the past year?  And that being the case, would the man who moved that rule change not be worthy of consideration if the other rule change was worthy?

Nope.  Instead, we get a talented but thus far marginally effective forward for a team that's already fired their coach, John Tavares, at #58.  We get a captain of one of the worst teams in the NHL who's only been healthy enough to play 19 games this year, Dion Phaneuf, at #72.  We get the architect of the worst defense in the NHL (120 goals against as of tonight), Guy Boucher, at #73.  And we get a Twitter hero who cracks jokes about how he can never get ice time, Paul Bissonnette, at #100.  But no Howson.

And people wonder why Columbus Blue Jackets fans feel that their team is disrespected by the hockey world.  Forget the crappy calls (and non-calls) that cost us games.  Forget the fact that we declare a public holiday when the Toronto War Room actually goes our way.  Forget that the refs mock and flip off our fans.  Our guy changed your damn game, and you didn't recognize it.  


  1. Well I guess we just have to go out and force the rest of the NHL to notice us.

  2. Good entry here, Tom. At first I thought ignorantly that this was a sarcastic entry (via twitter update) but you have a great point here. I like Howson and I always feel like he's a minute away from setting us pact and making a good trade though he's the zen master. Our fan base is pretty frustrated with him from time to time but I genuinely think we/they support him. I know the blogosphere seems to anyways. Should we mobilize or what? Rush the gates, burn the old copies and make them reprint new ones. WILDCARD!

  3. Cody if that was a 'Sunny' reference than thank you for that!!! But I don't agree SH is a good GM especially after today demoting Sestito. Maybe it is my fit of rage that is making me not like SH but HOW DO WE DO THIS!!!??

  4. Hey Anon -
    I agree a bit on Sestito, disagree a bit. If as Puck Rakers say, one more game and he is exposed to waivers, I say send him down.

    Premise to this post is that Howson, who frustrates me as much as anyone, has brought a much needed commodity to our franchise, which is stability. We have lacked that in the past. Its not the be all end all, Minnesota has had stability, and they are in the same place we are. So, maybe there is no correct route here. But stability will mean players actually playing together for more than one season. Freakin' Detroit has all those guys that have played many,many games together. So there is something to be said for stability, and the only way to get there is with patience. And as much as I want to see a move be made, (insert sound of gritting teeth), I agree with everyone that is basically saying that one guy isn't going to make that much of a difference. If that is the case, then patience is the way to go.

    Great posts lately DBJ. Thanks for the visit to the film vault.


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