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Former Jackets GM Howson opens up after firing

Feb 17, 2013, 1:16 PM EDT

Scott Howson Getty Images

It’s been a few days since former Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson was fired by president of hockey operations, John Davidson and replaced with Jarmo Kekalainen.

Howson didn’t see the change coming, but he knows why it happened.

“Hey, I had 5 1/2 years here,” Howson told the Columbus Dispatch. “I had a great opportunity. We didn’t win enough. And when you don’t have sustained success, you open yourself up to being replaced.

“It’s professional sports. We all know that going in.”

The Blue Jackets are in their 12th season and have yet to win a playoff game. Early in Howson’s tenure, led in large part by goaltender Steve Mason‘s stunning 2008-09 rookie season, the Columbus Blue Jackets advanced to the postseason for the first time.

“The ecstasy of actually making the playoffs, seeing the clock tick down and realizing we were in, realizing how much that meant to the players and the fans … that’s the moment that really sticks out,” Howson recalled.

But the Blue Jackets were swept in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings and try as Howson might, he could never recapture that magic. Eventually even the face of the franchise, Rick Nash, gave up and demanded a trade.

That was the setting when Davidson was brought in after having successfully turned around the St. Louis Blues franchise. Howson lasted mere months under Davidson before being fired.

“These things are never easy for anybody,” Howson said. “I’m disappointed, but I’m not mad. That’s not in me. John needed somebody in the GM’s chair that he’s completely comfortable with, and I respect and understand that.”

Howson isn’t sure what the future will bring for him, but he wants to stay in hockey.

  1. misterchainbluelightning - Feb 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Wasn’t qualified for the job in the first place, was in over your head….

  2. thehighcountrybear - Feb 17, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Refreshingly honest when held in comparison with the snivelling, excuse laden conspiracy theories used to under-pin perennial disasters in Vancouver; the ‘mitigating circumstances’ capital of the hockey world!

    • micasa81 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      WTF are you talking about? No excuses necessary in Vancouver. Everyone thought the team was on the way to being blown up once the Naslund era had passed, and they essentially had a 2-year rebuild before becoming perennial contenders. That is a slightly different situation than Columbus. Just a little bit. Yeah, yeah, no cup, blah-blah-blah. That’s not the point. Your comparison is ridiculous, and makes it seem like you’re just using it as an excuse to bash a team you don’t like.

  3. valoisvipers - Feb 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Gee I kinda like the guy now. He may not know much about GMing but knows a lot about class.

  4. letsgopens8771 - Feb 17, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    What a giant idiot. I think he is responsible for singlehandedly running the Jackets into the ground. Did he make a couple of good moves? Yes (Letestu, Tyutin, R.J. Umberger), but he should be made more notorious for the Bad ones. Probably the worst GM ever:

    1. Huselius- he just sucks and is too injury-prone
    2. Giving away Jakub Voracek and the draft pick that would have been SEAN freakin’ COUTOURIER!!! Come on!!!
    3. Giving away JEFF CARTER for Jack Johnson, who hasn’t done well in Columbus
    4. Letting Vermette go
    5. Arniel sucked as a head coach
    6. Filatov was a hack and never was going to do great things
    7. Pushing RICK NASH out the door and making a very unfair deal in return for him and giving him to a team that already has a large amount of firepower. Probably his worst move next to the Voracek/Couturier one

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 17, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      Broke it down quite well actually, thanks ;)

    • thailer35 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Thanks for Vermette, by the way. We really enjoy having him here in Phoenix.

  5. broadstbully33 - Feb 18, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    The couturier deal was a steal for Philly. Voracek was just icing on the cake. He ruined what should have been a sure thing with Nash. NYR basically have up spare parts for him.

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