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Kekalainen says Columbus’ leadership ‘is being questioned right now’

Nov 21, 2013, 10:48 AM EDT

Jarmo Kekalainen Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets sound like they’re in the market for some veteran presences.

That’s what GM Jarmo Kekalainen alluded to during the club’s Western road swing, saying he’s noticed a lack of leadership among his current group.

“Leadership is being questioned right now,” Kekelainen told the Columbus Dispatch. “It’s certainly something we’re looking at. Leadership is a full-time job. It’s not a part-time job.

“It has to be there every day, in every practice and every game.”

This quote is interesting, given the Jackets opted not to return last year’s leading scorer, Vaclav Prospal. The 38-year-old was part of the club’s key leadership group from a year ago, a veteran of over 1100 NHL contests… but the Jackets opted to go young rather than old this season (the club also cut ties with recently-retired Adrian Aucoin), which hasn’t worked so far.

Kekalainen acknowledged he’s looking to acquire some veteran presences via trade, but said the market is stagnant right now. He also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of one of the current Blue Jackets stepping up and taking a bigger role.

“You can never have too much of that, so if there’s a way to improve in that area by adding that kind of player from the outside, sure, we’d love to look at it,” he said. “But at the same time, I think we have enough guys with that kind of potential on the inside.”

  1. thecheeman - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    That’s weird they have Gaborik and everything.

    • doubles22 - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Gaborik has world-class talent, one of the best skaters I’ve ever seen. Dude couldn’t lead an army of ants to a picnic, though.

  2. xdj511 - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Odd to question the leadership on a team that hasn’t named a captain. When they played the Rangers a few weeks ago the “A’s” were worn by Jack Johnson, Dubinsky, and Boll. Not sure who amongst that group that they’re expecting to step up and lead the team.

  3. rushledger - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    It’s been over a year since Nash got traded, name a new captain already. Jack Johnson or Brandon Dubinsky, I’d say Johnson but indecision is worse than no decision, don’t complain about leadership when you have no captain to step up.

  4. jmikeymania - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Maybe they are waiting for Nathan Horton to be named “C” He has all the qualities mentioned.

    • shaundre93 - Nov 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Only problem there is that Horton tends to sleep walk through parts of seasons, he has the same issue Kekalainen is complaining about. But who knows, maybe the letter sparks something, I’d certainly love to see it. You know he’ll give it all come playoffs at least

  5. 2qswing - Nov 21, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Jarmo, Todd,

    the reason there is no clear cut leader on this team is because for the second year in a row you have not named a captain. You have 4 guys wearing the “A”, this means you have designated 20% of the roster as leaders. Even though I can make a case for each of them, for you to now say you are looking for a leader is ridiculous. You named 4 of them at the beginning of the year. I see every game and therer are two candidates who lead by example every night. They are JJ and Dubinsky. If as some have speculated, you are waiting for Horton. That is a huge mistake. Slapping a C on a brand new guy who has not sweated and bled with the group yet is setting him up for failure. Nash was/is a world class talent and a great teammate. but the truth is, he was not captain material.
    Pick a captain NOW and either of the guys I mentioned will embrace the role. Right now all four are confused as to how and when to speak up without offending the other “A”. If you truly feel your room needs leadership, fix your room by naming a captain.

  6. storminator16 - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Wow, many of you over rate the need for a guy to wear the “C”. These are grown men who get paid a handsome sum to respect each other, the organization, and to fulfill their obligations on & off the ice. I have a feeling there is stinky situation going on in CBus in which guys are committing themselves to the team. Slapping the “C” on some isn’t a magic elixer for that. I think Kekelainen pretty much just called out a player or two without naming names.

    • 2qswing - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Good points ^

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