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Columnist: Arniel “not getting job done” in Columbus

Jan 6, 2012, 12:27 PM EDT

Scott Arniel Getty Images

Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch has penned a scathing review of the job Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel has done this season.

With the BJs at the bottom of the NHL standings — and having won just 10 of 39 games — it’s fair to classify them as the league’s biggest disaster. Yet Arniel’s remained employed while five other coaches in less-disastrous situations have been turfed: Davis Payne, Bruce Boudreau, Randy Carlyle, Paul Maurice and Jacques Martin.

The way Arace sees it, Arniel’s should be the sixth member of that club.

Arniel has turned on players who are not to his liking (see Mike Commodore and Derick Brassard). He has admitted he is out of answers, which is something a coach should not publicly admit, even if it is true. He has increasingly directed media to “ask the players” as a way to deflect attention — or, worse, to tacitly ascribe blame.

After the Washington game, Arniel turned on the media after a benign question about the team’s struggles with four-on-four situations. He appeared unaware of this trend and, when he was enlightened, he huffed out of the news conference. It was minor-league stuff, of a kind that Dave King, Gerard Gallant, Ken Hitchcock or Doug MacLean would never stoop.

Columbus deserves a better hockey team. I have a suggestion where to start the fix.

It’s surprising Arniel’s survived this long. Upon hiring him, GM Scott Howson freely admitted that Arniel was Columbus’ second choice (the head coaching job was first offered to Guy Boucher, who opted to take the Tampa gig) — and Columbus is probably still longing for the one that got away. The Jackets are 44-58-18 over Arniel’s one-and-a-half seasons and have been consistently bad offensively, defensively and on special teams.

Even if CBJ thinks the season is lost and wants to just play out the string, it’s almost cruel to keep Arniel at the forefront of his mess for another 53 games. If it’s a money thing — hey, nobody likes paying a coach to not coach — that argument falls flat too, because Howson broke the bank this summer constructing his flawed roster.

So…why is Arniel still hanging around?

  1. east96st - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM


    Just to fill you in on something you may not be aware of. The Columbus Dispatch is the ONLY newspaper in Columbus AND they are part owners of the Jackets, So – 1) sportwriters are only allowed to write about the Jackets what their bosses allow them to write and 2) because there is no competing newspaper in town, the Dispatch is basically a propaganda rag for the Jackets. You’ll never get the whole story there. Is Arniel PART of the problem? Yes! But only a part. The fact that the Arace has only gone after Arniel tells you everything you need to know. He’s being setup as the fall guy by upper management. Truth is, Arniel is NOT responsible for YEARS of bad drafts, terrible signings, and one sided trades. This team has been bad since day one and Arniel has not been behind the bench since day one. Should he go? Absolutely. But nothing will be resolved unless Howson and Priest are also shown the door, Patrick is made the President and appoints the next GM, AND is allowed at least three years of doing it his way to make up for all the mistakes that have been made the past 11 years. Any article that does NOT mention Priest and Howson and the fact that McDonnell has allowed Priest to stay on for so long when he is so ill suited for the job is a joke. Arace is a hack doing his bosses bidding. Zero credibility.

  2. pavelfitzgerald - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    How about laying some blame on Howson for such an untalented roster & sooo many bad drafts. How’s Filitov doing?

  3. haterzgonahate - Jan 6, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    the blowjackets

    • east96st - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:55 AM

      the “blowjackets”? Last place team, inept for 11 years and that’s the best you could think up? This team is so awful, the jokes practically write themselves and you post “blowjackets”. What are you? 8 years old? Not original, not funny, just sad. Come back with quality material or some semi-rational insight or stay off the boards.

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