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Columbus GM Howson: “We finished 30th in the league, but we don’t think we’re that far away”

Jun 1, 2012, 12:22 PM EDT

howsonap AP

There’s a lot of focus on the Columbus Blue Jackets at the moment. They’ll select second overall at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, they’ll likely deal captain and leading scorer Rick Nash and, come July 1, they’ll have (reportedly) over $20 million to spend on free agents.

As such, GM Scott Howson is a busy man. He’s dealing with fellow GMs, working the phones, checking out potential draftees and, this morning, talking to TSN 1050 Radio in Toronto — offering a rather curious take on the current state of his franchise.

“We finished 30th in the league,” Howson told Gameday host Scott MacArthur. “But we don’t think we’re that far away.”

This from the general manager of a team that finished nine points behind the 29th team in the NHL last year.

In case you’re wondering, the best follow-up punchlines to Howson’s “we don’t think we’re that far away” are:

“…From the AHL.”

“…From Cincinnati, in a geographical sense.”

“…From figuring out this Rubik’s cube.”

“…From winning the Super Bowl.”

In case you’re curious (and I’m sure you are), Columbus’ 65 points in 2011-12 tied for the seventh-lowest total since the lockout:

2006-07 — Philadelphia, 56 points
2005-06 — St. Louis, 57 points
2005-06 — Pittsburgh, 58 points
2008-09 — New York Islanders, 61 points
2009-10 — Edmonton, 62 points
2010-11 — Edmonton, 62 points
2005-06 — Chicago, 65 points

  1. justjokinen1 - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro

  2. barkar942 - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Well, just 4 years later, the Hawks won the Cup, so perhaps in 4 years………
    NAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!

    • barkar942 - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      And Pittsburgh did it in only three years, but they were the poster child of the league and were handed Cindy and Geno “I Only Show Up In The Regular Season And When I Play For Russia” Pringles!

  3. cannonblast14 - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I understand how bad it sounds but I think (hope?) I understand what he was trying to say. Already got one high pick two years ago with Johansen and this year at number 2. CBJ will also likely get at least 2 top talent players.
    It took a while to go from 30 to playoffs for Chicago and Edmonton in part due to them not having a guy like Nash that will be traded to possibly make the build quicker.

    Still a rediculously stupid comment.

  4. balewsquare - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Wow Hawks turned it around fast!

  5. hrudey - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Under Howson’s leadership, I expect Columbus to turn things around 360 degrees. (And yes, that’s precisely what I meant to say).

    • barkar942 - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      NOW THAT’S FUNNY! I have to admit, I had to read it twice!

    • polegojim - Jun 1, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      Great comment… Hahahahahahah!

  6. bcisleman - Jun 1, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Taking Howson seriously for a moment, his veterans had very bad years and his goaltending was awful. Let’s say he gets Corey Schneider or Michal Neuwirth in the Nash deal and his veterans rebound–and stay healthy. Then–as Johansen, Jenner and whoever they draft at #2 develop–the Jackets might start to make some noise in 2-3 years.

  7. polegojim - Jun 1, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Sure… only 29 more slots to go… WOW talk about Spin.

    They’ve actually getting WORSE since a fluke playoff spot, AND…. getting rid of Nash?

    Only explanation for that reasoning is… medical marijuana.

  8. rogueplayer - Jun 1, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    I would be willing to guess that those teams that the faithful (and severely deluded) jackets fans are trying to compare themselves to (Pitt, Chi, Philly, etc) got rid of the people who drove them straight into the ditch whereas the jackets are keeping the same people in place with a WEAKER coaching staff hahaha. The blues were puttering along status quo until Hitchcock arrived and made everyone in that franchise (JD and Armstrong mostly) appear smart. Howson FIRED that very coach, weakened the team (traded character players like Klesla and Vermette) and got a cast-off-accomplished-nothing head coach and gave him the full time job and gave him a new deal!

    The fact that Jack Johnson says he was happy to leave LA to go to Columbus so he could be ‘the guy’ says everything one needs to know about his character. He and The Wiz are most likely going to lead the league in minus’ next year. They are ‘me’ players which is why The Wiz has seen so many teams in his shortish career. He hit the jackpot with the jackets and when you have that guy emerging (when Nash leaves) as the face of the franchise, you are in trouble.

    The fact that Howson is still there and still allowed to make ridiculous comments like this is the ENTIRE problem with that franchise. If he seriously thinks they are only a few players away, that poor franchise is in deeper trouble than everyone already thought.

    Nash isn’t that good of a player and I am afraid the jackets aren’t going to get all that Howson is expecting. He was guilty of overvaluing his players when he was an Oilers executive (look how well they are going…Howson had a big hand in that) and he is doing the same in Columbus which is why he can NEVER seem to make a trade that works. Howson is in love with skill and sees no value in the competitiveness and character of players. Dorsett and Mackenzie–ahh yes, they will lead the charge in 2012-13. Central Division: look out! Here come the jackets!!! #whatajoke

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