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Really? The Jackets are planning to keep Howson?

Jan 23, 2012, 6:42 PM EDT

2010 NHL Draft - Round One Getty Images

Flying somewhat under the radar this weekend (which is to say, we totally missed this) was a report by the Columbus Dispatch that suggested Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson — along with team president Mike Priest — won’t be fired after the team’s miserable season is over.

Judging by the whispers and hints coming out of the Blue Jackets’ owners meeting last week, club president Mike Priest and general manager Scott Howson are secure in their jobs, even though the Jackets, with the highest payroll in franchise history, will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for a third straight season.

Priest and Howson are said to have sold the ownership group on a plan that includes potentially significant changes before the 2012-13 season, but not the front-office and roster overhaul many within the organization and around the NHL believe is needed to simply get the franchise on par with the rest of the league.

Did you hear that, Jackets fans? “Potentially significant changes” are coming.

Frankly, I’m shocked ownership would consider bringing Howson back. I mean, it’s not like he just got the job – he’s been the GM in Columbus since 2007.

Howson’s decision to roll the dice with goalie Steve Mason after a summer spent adding millions and millions to the payroll was absolutely horrendous. Drafting Nikita Filatov was bad as well. Ditto for signing Mike Commodore to a big contract, eventually having to buy the defenseman out.

More from the Dispatch:

Don’t be surprised if [Jeff] Carter — ballyhooed as the long-awaited No. 1 center just six months ago — is sent packing to one of the many clubs in the NHL who are looking for a top-six forward.

Carter and [Rick] Nash have never shown signs of enhancing each other’s games, and although Carter has said all the right things about wanting to make it work in Columbus, his body language on the ice has been something different.

It’s hard to blame Howson for going after a top-line center like Carter to play with Nash. However, if Carter is traded prior to the deadline and the Jackets don’t land something comparable to what they gave up to the Flyers, it’s another big blunder to add to Howson’s resume.

  1. danphipps01 - Jan 23, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Carter doesn’t, and never has, given a flying fuck. All the skill, no heart or work ethic. Even Heatley puts forward more of an effort than Carter does. Additionally, whether he can take faceoffs or not, he’s not a feed man – he’s a shooter first and a passer second. Nash is a shooter too. They can’t enhance each others’ games because they’re both that kind of player. In any event, if he can ship Carter for someone who actually cares, it’ll be a good decision. Either way, though, if that’s not followed by moving out most of the rest of the team, the GM and the owner, the Jackets will continue to be the NHL’s comic relief.

  2. Matt - Jan 23, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I would suggest Howson’s biggest fault (and I suppose this is an organizational one too) is his talent evaluation. He simply does not assemble good teams, does not draft good players, and does not manage reasonable contracts. When players like Tyutin, Umberger, and Wisniewski are all taking up a cap hit of over $4.5 million, I can’t help but think that the ownership would take notice – this is a team with oft-reported financial problems after all. It’s also noteworthy that Howson doesn’t wait until the end of rookie contracts to give extensions. Both Steve Mason and Derek Brassard were given deals without a real sense of what value they held (Brassard signed while in recovery from season-ending shoulder injury, Mason after less than one “good” year and one abysmal one).

    For a team that has been in perpetual rebuild, Howson has only hindered the process by holding on to mediocre talent. It’s disappointing for at least this fan that Howson will be allowed to continue after he has so thoroughly failed to make anything out of the Blue Jackets.

    • spokedjackets - Jan 23, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      Very well said. Its simply amazing when you look at the draft busts and contractual disasters this team has taken on before and during Howsons tenure. Until that changes the results will be the same.

  3. Jackets Fan Forever - Jan 23, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    There was great anticipation in C-bus that whirlwind changes would be coming from the Jackets ownership group meeting a week ago. The next day, the story in the Columbus Dispatch, was extremely disheartening. I am absolutely shocked and flabbergasted that GM Howson is still safe along with Mike Pries, President.

    With everything that has gone wrong this season with the Jackets, such as:

    – Wisniewski’s record suspension at the beginning of the season
    – Carter injury – twice
    – Wisniewski injury
    – Huselius injury – is this guy ever going to be healthy?
    – Martinek – season ending injury soon after being acquired
    – Dekanich – back-up goalie injured and has yet to play a regular season game for the Jackets
    – Mason flopping once again but we knew this would happen it’s not an excuse anymore
    – Umberger injured
    – Nikitin injured
    – NHL realignment plan halted by NHLPA
    – Ludicrous amount of patience given to former coach Scott Arniel before firing him
    – Incredibily allowing former coach Ken Hitchcock to sign with an intra-divisional rival, St. Louis.
    – Worst record in the NHL

    And, what else can wrong you ask? How about the GM getting to keep his job and promising “significant changes” for 2012/2013 season but not impacting front-office or players. What kind of garbage is this? Us Jackets fans are gluttons for punishment.

    Can you believe it? Perhaps, that should become the Jackets tagline, “Can you believe it?” instead of “Gotta See It Llive?”

    • cincycbjfan - Jan 24, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      “Gotta See ’em Lose!”

  4. barkar942 - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Perhaps he is safe cause no one else will take the job?

  5. Brian - Jan 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    It’s inexcusable that Howson entered this season with Mason as his starter with no realistic backup plan except a couple of career minor leaguers in Sanford and Dekanoch. Its not like there weren’t goalies on the market he could’ve gone for. Howson is the king of throwing the same guys out there and hoping for the best. I’m sure he convinced ownership that all they need next season is for Mason to win the Vezina, whoever they take in the draft to be rookie of the year, Wisniewski to be a Norris candidate and Nash to score 60 goals. Hey, all these things are theoretically possible.

  6. AppealToReason - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    He must have a lot of money left on his contract

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