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Columbus owner knows of “no reason” why Howson won’t be GM next year

Jan 27, 2012, 10:41 AM EDT

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Blue Jackets owner John P. McConnell has confirmed to the Columbus Dispatch the earlier reports that general manager Scott Howson and team president Mike Priest are not on the verge of being fired.

Regarding Priest, he said: “I don’t know how he gets roped into the on-ice performance by some people because he doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

As for Howson: “As of right now, I know of no reason why he won’t be our (GM next season).”

That sound you’re hearing is every Jackets fans bashing their heads against the wall.

What McConnell did say is that changes are coming, though he wouldn’t get into specific details.

“We’re going to get to a point very quickly where it’s going to be obvious to people how extreme we’re getting,” he told the Dispatch.

So if the president isn’t getting fired and the GM isn’t getting fired, reading between the lines you can assume some big player moves are coming. Not sure what other “extreme” measures McConnell could be referring to, unless the whole team is going skateboarding.

“You can’t look at one thing,” McConnell said when asked what went wrong this season. “Goaltending is certainly No. 1 on the list.”

Of course, it was Howson who decided to roll the dice with Steve Mason when anyone who followed the Jackets knew that was a huge risk.

As we mentioned Wednesday on PHT, a number of the team’s fans are planning a protest Saturday outside Nationwide Arena to let the club know how they’re feeling.

What does the owner think of that?

“Certainly, we’re aware of it,” McConnell said. “We’ll see what comes of it Saturday. We’re certainly prepared to get out some hot liquids for them.”

Hmmm…like coffee or tea? Or like during medieval times when they poured boiling oil on armies that were attacking castles?

  1. bhawkce - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Well, leaving Priest and Howson in charge of anything short of Nation Wide area janitorial services is like pouring the proverbial hot oil on the fans.. I don’t know how much more of this torture I can take as a CBJ fan.
    . C’mon, I am already a Browns fan, does my home town team management have to be this pathetic too?

  2. davebabychreturns - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Hey BJs fans, John McConnell has some hot liquid ready for you.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Gotta be a better way to say that…

      • Jason Brough - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        They just Blue Jacketed themselves.

        Wait, not sure that works.

      • danphipps01 - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        Still, points for trying.

      • east96st - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        Let’s be 100% honest – For 11 straight years – now it will be going into the 12th – the CBJ attitude towards the fans is “we’re going to piss on you and tell you it’s raining.”. I have already told my ticket rep where he can put next year’s ticket and exactly how high he shove them up there. Anyone else going to join me? Because if you don’t, this will not stop. It’s been over a decade. If you keep buying the tickets, the jerseys, the baseball caps, etc., this will NEVER stop. At this point, all my sympathy for CBJ fans disappears opening day, next season. The owner just gave you the middle finger. He made his feelings known, loud and f**king clear. You KNOW how to answer him back. The question is, do you have the stones to do it? Can you walk away from a one sided relationship where you’re taken for granted and treated like s**t? Only thing that is going to get thru to McConnell is to see an empty arena, night after night. Can you stay away Columbus? Because if you can’t, this season is a window into your future. And you will only have yourself to blame.

  3. hockeyfan1701 - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    They sent this out today..

    Dear Blue Jackets Fan,

    My father held a longstanding belief that a major league sports franchise would prove an important catalyst in the growth and development of Columbus. After more than 30 years of effort, the opportunity to make his belief reality presented itself with the NHL awarding a franchise to Columbus in 1997. To my mind, it is clear he was right in his vision. With the Blue Jackets and the Arena as the anchor, Nationwide Insurance has brought vibrancy to our downtown in the Arena District that simply wouldn’t have happened without the team.

    That said, there is no question our on-ice performance is nowhere near what it needs to be. All of you are disappointed and many are angry. I and the entire Blue Jackets organization share these feelings. I thought as we approached mid-season at the All-Star break, it would be a good time to reflect on where we’ve been and offer some thoughts about how we go forward. We have taken actions and will continue our push to improve.

    Toward the end of last season, we did a thorough evaluation of our team’s strengths and weaknesses. From there, a plan was developed balancing our needs against our tradable assets. During the summer, we believed we executed the plan well and took a good step forward. Most people seemed to agree and we were excited for the season to start.

    Unfortunately and surprisingly, we opened the season terribly and have struggled ever since. Disappointing is not a strong enough word.

    We began looking at why our team was not performing at an acceptable level very early this season and assessing where we are and where we want to go. We added Craig Patrick, an experienced and highly respected figure in the hockey community, as a senior advisor to assist in this endeavor. While this process is not complete, we have clearly defined our options and are finalizing our plans.

    I understand you want to know what we’re going to do to fix this, but it is important for us to maintain a degree of discretion to prevent putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage. I can tell you action will be taken in the coming weeks and months, be it around the trade deadline, the entry draft and/or free agency that will be indicative of our direction.

    Our goal as an organization is to build a team that wins consistently and competes for the Stanley Cup. Anything less is unacceptable! Everything we do in the coming weeks, months and years will be done to that end and everyone in our organization – myself, management, staff, coaches and players – will be held to that standard.

    I am very thankful and appreciative of the dedication and passion you have shown as a Blue Jackets fan and I am committed to giving you a team of which you can be proud.


    John P. McConnell

    • danphipps01 - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      “But seriously, I don’t actually give a fuck what you think. Get bent. Priest and Howson stay and you can all just deal with it, peasants.”

      Earlier in the year, the rest of the NHL fans thought this was hilarious. Now we just feel bad and want it to stop. Seriously, this is bad for the players, bad for Scott Arniel (who’s actually a reasonably competent guy) and bad for the fans. Nobody deserves this crock of shit.

  4. sonvar - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Maybe the Jackets need to start with a new owner if McConnell can’t see that Priest and Howson are hurting this organizations chances at being competitive. A good on ice product starts at the top with the President and GM being hockey savy. At this point it’s more than obvious they don’t know what they are doing.

    • east96st - Jan 27, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      Amen, brother. Amen. Gary Bettman – you won’t to do something positive for hockey? Lean on McConnell to sell the Jackets. He’s driving this train wreck right into the sewer.

  5. cbjfan75 - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Forget about getting a dime of my money then!

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