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Davidson close to deal with Blue Jackets

Oct 23, 2012, 11:10 PM EDT

John Davidson Getty Images

John Davidson’s long flirtation with the Columbus Blue Jackets is reportedly about to pay off.

Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch says the two sides are close to signing off on a deal that will make Davidson the President of Hockey Operations.

Portzline also reports general manager Scott Howson, assistant GM Chris MacFarland, and senior adviser of hockey operations Craig Patrick will retain their jobs with the team. The catch here is that Davidson will be the boss of all three guys.

As you might remember, Davidson was allowed to look for a new job when Tom Stillman bought the St. Louis Blues and the one team he gravitated towards immediately was Columbus. He’ll have his hands full in trying to help turn the Jackets around as they’ve made the playoffs just once in team history.

  1. jimw81 - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Columbus is in good hands. They will finally stop being the laughing stock of nhl.

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:59 AM

      And in a very strange turnaround the NHL is the laughingstock of Columbus (and every other NHL city).

  2. georgiared - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Good, maybe now my jackets can have one direction in mind rather than the “we’re all in this year…..oops, we’re building for the future…..LOOK, a quarter!” kind of assembling Howson has been doing.

    • east96st - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      You say “my Jackets”, so I’ll take it that you are a passionate fan. You have to know, deep down, this doesn’t change a thing. As long as Priest controls the purse strings, CBJ isn’t ever going to fix what’s REALLY wrong with the organization. They may have a good year or two. We both know they went to the playoffs where the Red Wings exposed Steve Mason to the entire league. Good years happen even to bad teams. But really build for the future? Have a team that can compete for the Cup? Be in the playoffs year after year? Never happen with McConnell as owner and Priest as the money man. Any CBJ fan that isn’t in deep denial knows that. I would have been a million times happier if the story was “Davidson close to a deal to BUY Jackets”. That, my friend, would be the signal of a new era. But as long as Priest can block every move Davidson makes based on what it costs? Sorry, this is window dressing only.

      • tmoore4075 - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM

        JD helped bring the Blues back with never getting really close to the ceiling so money shouldn’t be too much of a problem. He made good trades and acquired picks. He can do this on a budget. It’ll take a few years but this is the right guy for the job. Automatically gives the team some credit too.

      • east96st - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:09 AM

        tmoore – You misunderstand how Priest uses money. If HE likes the move, there’s money. If he doesn’t, there’s not. It’s not about “the ceiling”, it’s about power. Priest has it and abuses it. If Priest had been fired, and THEN Davidson was hired, I would have all the faith in the world in Davidson doing a fine job. I’m not arguing the man’s resume. I like Davidson. The way power is handled in the CBJ organization is McConnell basically lets Priest run the show. Priest is the long time family financial adviser and a close, personal friend. As long as Priest still controls the money, he can override anything Davidson wants to do simply by saying the money isn’t there. It’s the same passive/aggressive BS that got the Jackets to this point. Anyone who has been to Jackets games has seen the “fire priest” signs and the last two seasons, season ticket holders in the hundreds have signed a petition asking McConnell to fire Priest. This is NOT about Davidson, it’s about what he’s walking into.

      • sonvar - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        If he has no chance to succeed then why take the job? It’s not like he couldn’t find work elsewhere or wait to be a commentator again once the NHL lockout ends. Though I will agree firing Priest would have made this better so JD would have more control

      • east96st - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        sonvar – Here’s my theory about that – I think Davidson is an extremely smart man. CBJ is going to throw a ton of money at him in an attempt to buy respectability. Davidson knows Priest will be on his best behavior this year – if there is a “this year” – because the All Star game is in Columbus. If there isn’t a “this year”, Davidson has to know the McConnell will keep a leash on Priest next year to see if Davidson can work some magic. Chances are the Jackets will improve, because, let’s be honest here, they really can’t get much worse. So, Davidson knows that will also help keep Priest on the leash. It’s year three where it will start to get tricky. Do the Jackets make the playoffs and do well? Well, then Davidson becomes untouchable for awhile and gets a little revenge on his past employer. If they don’t, Priest sees his opening and starts to behave like the Priest we all know and hate. Davidson has three years of fat paychecks in the bank, resigns over “control” issues, and no one ever blames Davidson. It is the Jackets, after all, and NHL insiders commend Davidson for his valiant efforts to fix the League’s most dysfunctional team. Davidson makes a truckload of money and, whether he’s successful or not, he comes out smelling like a rose. Let’s be honest, how can he lose? I think Davidson sees a no-lose proposition that gives him an opportunity to make an awful lot of money. Who can blame a guy for taking advantage of that?

  3. ironpeddler255 - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    JD is a stand up guy…good for the CBJ. Hopefully Priest will cut him some financial slack to straighten out their course.

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