Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blue day for Blue Jacket boss

The Doug MacLean era has come to an end in Columbus, he was relieved of his duties after a lengthy meeting at a Columbus area country club. MacLean who joined the Blue Jackets in February of 1998 was the only GM the franchise has known.

The Columbus News Dispatch had an extensive article on the firing on the web today, including a review of his six seasons in management which were punctuated by questionable free agency signings that never seemed to live up to their potential. It appears that the handling of his players and how they fit into the long range plan for the team would be the final problem that caught up to him on Wednesday.

Of even more concern to the the owners will be the details on an expected financial loss of several million dollars this season for the Blue Jackets and the prospect of declining attendance.

With another sad finish and no playoff appearance to build interest in the team, it is expected that the team will see a hit on season ticket sales this off season. Thus, it would seem that there is a need to show that the team has plans to go in a new direction and improve their product.

It won't come cheap for majority owner John H. McConnell, he has to pay out a good portion of McLean's newly minted contract which to be bought out will give McLean at least 1 and a half million dollars, a lovely parting gift we must admit.

In addition to having to shell out now for a new GM, one who will no doubt command a high salary considering the job ahead. It will be interesting to watch and see who surfaces on the horizon to take a look at the state of Blue Jackets and what it might take to make them a better hockey club.

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