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Ex-Blue Jacket on Columbus: “It wasn’t a great atmosphere”

Jul 29, 2012, 10:36 AM EDT


Prior to being acquired by Ottawa on July 1, Marc Methot spent his entire six-year NHL career in Columbus. While he has plenty of good things to say about the city and its fans, he also recently told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun playing hockey in Ohio was challenging at times.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I have the utmost respect for the fans there,” Methot said. “It’s just sometimes during the week we wouldn’t get a packed house and we’d be playing a team like Chicago or Detroit and it sounded like half the building were from those markets or were fans of the other team.

“We were losing a lot of games, people weren’t happy and it wasn’t a great atmosphere.”

Talk about your reversals of fortune.

Methot, 27, is an Ottawa native set to join a young Senators team that defied expectations last year by making the playoffs. They pushed the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Rangers to seven games in the opening round and it looks as though Methot — known as a positionally-sound, defensive defenseman — could get a chance to replace Filip Kuba as Erik Karlsson‘s blueline partner.

The former London Knight sounded excited to get things going with the Sens.

“You can absolutely call it a fresh start,” Methot said. “I’m going to get a chance to play in front of my family and friends. I don’t think the situation could be any better.”

  1. agellings - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    “It’s just sometimes during the week we wouldn’t get a packed house and we’d be playing a team like Chicago or Detroit…” – Honestly Marc why would the fans buy tickets when they know a team like Chicago or Detroit will absolutely embarrass the home team?

    I always liked Methot he was certainly a fan favorite and Ottawa will enjoy him but dude it’s not rocket science you’ve got to put a winning product on the ice to get the home town fans into the stands.

    • ecmar2000 - Jul 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Being in the media and covering the team – thus, why I’m particularly negative – I know a whole lot more than the shills who think this “brain trust”(???) has a clue – I can tell you, first-hand, that MM (Marc Methot) is one of the best guys you’ll ever meet, especially on that team of ‘check collectors’.

      Of course, all of the best guys on the team to interview or just shoot the breeze with are all gone – Commie, Hejda and now MM.

      With the “personalities” left, I’d rather interview or shoot the breeze with one of our Jack Russell Terriers (JRTs) – THAT would be more insightful and provacative – ugh.

  2. 950003cups - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    “They pushed the Eastern Conference champion Rangers to seven games in the opening round”

    Does anyone proof read any of this malarkey? Rangers were the eventual Eastern Conference FINALISTS.

    • Mike Halford - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Meant regular season. They finished atop the Eastern Conference during the regular season. Apologies for the wording.

  3. Brian - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Obviously nobody has pointed out to Methot what games are like in Ottawa when Montreal or Toronto are in town.

  4. hitem396 - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    he s right. fans are all good but who wants to play in losing team? too bad for dubinsky n anisimov (at least can get more ice time$

  5. mclovinhockey - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    At cups, I think they meant they won the east for regular season… Not the playoffs, very confusing, but it’s the only thing I could think of logically

  6. 950003cups - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    That would be worse. I’d love to see the writer go out and buy a NY Rangers 2012 Eastern Conference Champions hat. He’d probably have to visit a small village in Nicaragua.

  7. hockeyissweet - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    team needs to move just north to cleveland for several reasons, sports fans in columbus care about the osu buckeyes and thats IT. clevelands dying for a sports team that isnt the browns or the cavs and dont want to drive 3 hours to the middle of columbus to watch a terrible team. you also have built in city rivalries with detroit/philly/pittsburgh/chicago/new york. much better atmosphere for hockey, soo many hockey fans in cleveland that are forced to be red wing or flyer fans because all they have now is the avalanche AHL team the lake erie monsters, or a horrible columbus team hardly anyone cares about. want good fans and eventual success? move to cleveland.

    • rogercrozier - Jul 30, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Columbus is an outstanding hockey city! Have you ever even been to Columbus? Or Ohio?

      The Blue Jackets had a streak of 57 consecutive sellouts – no small feat. For most of their existence they’ve been in the top half of the NHL in attendance, ahead of fabled franchises like the Blackhawks and Sabres at times.

      The Columbus Chill, too, was among the leaders in attendance and Columbus has one of the largest adult hockey leagues in the U.S. and youth hockey here is huge.

      So you better learn your facts before making ignorant posts like the one above.

  8. mclovinhockey - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Cups, if I was on a computer I would thumbs up that comment hahaha.

    @ mike, that’s what I figured. Makes more sense now… I didn’t notice it when I was reading until I read the comments. It happens. Good read though.

  9. 950003cups - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Much better. Devils fans appreciate the correction.

    You can find those hats in the same hut that sells the “New England Patriots 2007 19-0” hats, books, and t shirts.

  10. chazxcore - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    If the NHL was going to move a team to Ohio, the NHL should have put the franchise in Toledo or Cleveland. Columbus was pointless. Not a big hockey area. Cleveland would at least have a geographical rival with Pittsburgh as well as the fact that both cities hate each other with football. Toledo would have at least had a bigger hockey following even though it’s a small city. It would have a geographical rival with Detroit.

    • daerian - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Much as I think Cleveland would be a great hockey town, no way would they build the Jackets an arena. Would the Q be willing to share? Maybe, but that arena was built in the early ’90s, I’m not sure how much the NHL would have wanted to sign a long-term lease in an arena that ‘old’.

    • handsofsweed - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      Toledo would be an EPIC fail. Cincinnati would be a much better idea than Toledo, and even that probably wouldn’t work. But Cleveland could be very interesting, if done correctly.

      • chazxcore - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

        And Columbus isn’t turning into an epic fail?

      • handsofsweed - Jul 29, 2012 at 4:44 PM

        Didn’t say it wasn’t, just that Toledo is an unbelieveably bad idea. That would literally be the dumbest thing any pro sports league has done, maybe ever.

      • mmmpierogi - Jul 29, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        Toledo is also too close to Detroit if you’re getting arguments about home games being packed with rival city fans.

        On a little bit of a tangent … I’m not from that part of the country and therefore am ignorant on the surrounding issues, but I spent time in Milwaukee one winter and thought it would be a good location for an NHL team … relatively close rivals (e.g., Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota), Wisconsin seems like it’d fit the profile for a hockey state, Milwaukee fits the profile for a sports city, etc. I rarely ever hear about people talking about Milwaukee getting an NHL team, though (I’m aware of the Admirals, though I know nothing about whether their games are well-attended).

  11. vshehane - Jul 29, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    It’s always bad form to publicly criticize your previous team. He is no longer there, there is really no need to say anything at all.

  12. east96st - Jul 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    The Cleveland remarks are just ridiculous. 1) Columbus has more people and the population difference grows everyday 2) Cleveland was absolutely crippled by the housing collapse. Columbus is much better shape economically to afford tickets and – a fact you’re all ignoring – pass a law that turns the casino revenue over to the Blue Jackets. Something Cleveland could not afford to do. CBJ has a contract to stay here until 2039 because of the casino deal. The problem is NOT Columbus. Plenty of sellouts and season ticket holders in the beginning. The problem is MANAGEMENT!! It’s grossly incompetent, can’t build a winning team, and treats the fans like s**t. Only so long you feed people crap and treat them worse before they say “enough”. Get a new owner and front office and Nationwide will be packed. That simple. NO city ANYWHERE would support a bad team AND abusive ownership for 11 straight years with endless sellouts. I will remind everyone that Pittsburgh and Detroit had plenty of empty seats when they weren’t winning.

    • handsofsweed - Jul 29, 2012 at 6:57 PM

      Me personally? My comments did not say “move CBJ to Cleveland,” but just that it COULD be an interesting place for a team IF done correctly. That’s all. You make some legit arguments as to why that COULD be a bad idea, though. As it stands,and probably will stand for just about ever, Cleveland won’t be in the mix. Who knows what the NHL is thinking, really. It’s not like they don’t have some odd thought patterns concerning, oh just about anything/everything.

      But yeah, CBJ fans have a right to be piiiiiiissssed @ ownership.

      • east96st - Jul 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM

        Let me get this straight, you’re NOT willing to drive three hours to see a horrible hockey team, be treated like crap by the people you’re paying for the “privileged” to see the game, and being run by a front office that will probably change the coach while you’re up getting a beer? You would rather drive a shorter distance and see a hockey team that has a chance of making the playoffs? I find that shocking!! Here’s the deal. You want the Blue Jackets in Cleveland? Okay. Fine. Explain to us where Cleveland will find the money to build a new $236 million arena (the cost to build Nationwide in 2012 dollars) and pay the Blue Jackets tens of millions of dollars to break their contract with Columbus (again, under CONTRACT until 2039) and persuade McConnell to either move his family (they are all in Columbus, as is his main business Worthington Industries) or have HIM do the three hour drive (not happening!). Basically, Cleveland will be on the hook for over $300 million dollars for a last place hockey team while still reeling from having had one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. I’m sure all the Cleveland residents that lost their homes will embrace any politician that thinks that’s a good use for $300 mill. Oh, and don’t forget the Jackets get to compete for season ticket holders with the Browns and the Cavs. Yeah, Cleveland is the answer to the problem.

      • east96st - Jul 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        Sorry, Hands. My response was supposed to post under hockeyissweet’s post. Not yours. My bad. Wasn’t meant for what you wrote.

  13. hockeyissweet - Jul 29, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    sucks you disagree with cleveland but its true. being in columbus eliminates almost ALL hockey fans in northern ohio from being a fan of the team. whos gonna drive to columbus to see them when u can take an even shorter or equal drive to go to a red wing, penguin, or almost a sabre game? noone. youre eliminating half the state as a fanbase. columbus is a terrible city for hockey, sorry, seems like methot and jeff carter wouldnt disagree too much. its never going to succeed there. ever. the ahl isnt good for cleveland, especially when their just gonna go play in colorado when they get to nhl. blue jackets to cleveland

  14. cleesmith2 - Jul 29, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    There’s just so much wrong with the comments posted on this article.

    Columbus should be COMMENDED for how well they’ve supported this hot mess of a franchise. The fans still show up, the corporate support is still strong. The market doesn’t need replacing, it’s the OWNERSHIP that needs replacing.

    Regarding moving to a new city, did we move the Blackhawks when Dollar Bill ran that club into the ground and crowds regularly fell below 10k? Did we move the Red Wings in the 80s when they had to give away cars to get people to the Arena? DId we move the Penguins? The Islanders? The Ducks? The Coyotes? But yet, when the teams put an entertaining product on the ice, the barns are packed.

    Regarding Cleveland, you’re talking about the same city that couldn’t draw 10k earlier this year when the Indians were in first place?

    Regarding Cincinnati, you’re talking about the same city that regularly gets blacked out because their playoff-bound NFL team couldn’t sell out?

    Regarding Toledo, oh that’s not even a serious suggestion.

  15. drew1969 - Jul 29, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Cincinnati might work,but imo,the nba would be a better fit.I dont know,however,if they have an nhl or nba ready facility.

    • cincycbjfan - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      US Bank Arena (Riverfront Coliseum, Firstar Center, whatever they’re calling it today…) 14,400 supposedly for hockey… that’s probably with 2000 of them in the skyboxes (literally in the ceiling!), opened 1975!!!

      So, the short answer… NO, we do not have a “ready” facility…

      Put a winning product on the ice, and I will resume my 200 mile round-trips to Columbus… until then, I’m saving $$$ on gas!

  16. 950003cups - Jul 29, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    This is what people say about the Devils moving to Newark. It’s all BS. If the games are fun to go to, people will show up. Entertainment is the business they’re in. If we’re entertained we will continue to pay and go. If not……
    When the Devils win the division every year playing the trap system, fans didn’t show up. In the 10/11 season when they were in last place, and climbed all the way (led by Kovalchuk) to 6 points of a playoff birth (at a time the win streak was 20-2-2) the fans were showing up. This year, with the aggressive forecheck the attendance was up and ALL the playoff rounds were finally sold out.

    It’s all about ENTERTAINMENT. They ask us for money and to show up, we ask, “what do we get?” It can work in Columbus, it can work in Cleveland, and it can work in Omaha Nebraska. Just make it fun to go and cheer the team.

    • east96st - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:01 AM

      cups – Entertainment is, of course, an issue and a valid point. But so is population. As a guy who was born and raised in NYC, I understand how a Jersey guy can forget that. The Tri-State area is the most densely populated part of the country. There are over 8 million in NYC alone. There are only 11 million in ALL of Ohio. You have to realize that Cleveland has less than 400,000 people and lost over 17% of it’s population between 2000 and 2010. Columbus has 800,000 and gained 10% during that time period. Even if the Jackets were enjoyable to watch, you need to have a set number of people, and for them to have a higher than average standard of living to pay for the tickets, in order to support a professional sports franchise.

  17. 950003cups - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    That was definitely something I didn’t take in to consideration. All I can say is, of Tampa Bay can get better attendance at a hockey game than their top tier baseball team, then it’s likely all about entertainment value.

    I love baseball, it’s not as exciting as a hockey game. It’s way more popular, but you have to love the game itself to watch it. Anyone can go and enjoy a hockey game. Even of you have no idea what’s happening.

  18. 950003cups - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    Ok… That wasn’t understandable. Let me type the last paragraph again. Sorry:

    I happen to love baseball, but lets be real, it’s not as exciting as a hockey game. Baseball is way more popular in the US, but you have to love the game itself to watch and enjoy it. Hockey is different, anyone can go and enjoy a hockey game, even of you have no idea what’s happening.

    If you’ve ever taken a date, who’s not in to sports at all, to a baseball game and a hockey game. Chances are, your date liked the hockey game a lot more.

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