Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Office Temp

Gary Agnew hasn’t even had a chance to test out the title of interim head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and already the names are being dropped as to who is going to boot his butt out from behind that Blue Jacket bench.

Agnew was named the temporary coach on Monday morning and by Tuesday afternoon the names of Ken Hitchcock, Andy Murray and Pat Quinn, three currently unemployed coaches were suggested as possible appointees who might find Columbus to their liking.

The Columbus situation became dire last week as the team continued to struggle under former coach Gerard Gallant, who seemed to be unable to get his squad to play with any consistency, let alone record some wins to pacify an increasingly anxious hometown crowd.

General Manager Doug MacLean decided to make the change over the weekend, (though reports suggest it was more the idea of Team owner John McConnell) this despite having previously given Gallant the ever popular “vote of confidence”, no doubt a sure fire sign that it’s time to contact a real estate agent.

MacLean himself may find that his job is the next up on the chopping block, even though he himself has said that ownership has not told him that his job is in jeopardy and if he’s lucky they won’t offer up a public vote of confidence any time soon.

Columbus has been a major disappointment this season, with many fans having felt that the time had come for the Blue Jackets to make a move up the NHL standings, with a young team which had added some key veteran players in the off season.

But so far they’ve played poorly showing a massive inability to score goals and have lost nine of their last twelve games, which is spiraling them towards the bottom of the West Division standings and once again far away from any playoff ambitions.

The change to a caretaker coach is probably designed to utilize Agnew’s knowledge of the younger players from his days as coach of the Blue Jackets farm club, he’ll play babysitter while MacLean and the owners go over the list of possible coaches. They’ll be hoping to find the one best able to light a fire on an underperforming team.

For MacLean it may be the most importatnt decision he makes while in the Blue Jackets executive office, he may not only be hiring on a much needed bit of credibility behind the bench, but also possibly his replacement if some of the names being bounced around have any merit to them.

It's the nature of the game these days it seems, the name you pick today could be the one that stands up at the next press conference announcing the new direction for a struggling team.

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