No Mike, You Don’t Have It Right

Yesterday, Michael Arace wrote a piece with his comments on the Raffi Torres trade.

I have been mildly surprised about the virulent reaction to general manager Scott Howson as the trade deadline came and went last week.

Arace explains, quite clearly, why he thinks that Scott Howson had no choice but to trade Torres (and Jurcina and Picard and Roy and Modin) so that he would have room (money) for next season.  He talks about how all of this might cause a season ticket holder to not renew their seats for next season.  So let me say right here, Michael, that these actions do not make me want to renew my tickets for next season, but they are not the only reason.

First off, with regard to Torres only, I’m upset because the Jackets really didn’t get much for him.  A journeyman, Nathan Paetsch and a second-round pick just does not replace a player who contributed so much to the woeful Blue Jackets.  Raffi Torres might not really be worth all that much on the open NHL market, but as we have seen since the trade, his goals and effort haven’t been replaced.  I think Howson may have waited too long to pull the trigger on this deal, but that is the history of the Blue Jackets, a day late and a dollar short.  If Nathan Paetsch can suddenly pop seven or eight goals in the net during the rest of this lost season, I’ll have to take it all back.  But Torres was a replacement for Gilbert Brule, another first round pick who didn’t work out in Columbus, and last night Brule scored his 14th goal for the even worse Edmonton Oilers.  So all in all, the team gave up ANOTHER first round pick with no return at all.  And with Raffi Torres gone, how will Jon Michael of FSN Ohio keep his job?

As for Jurcina, what was the purpose of acquiring him?  Are the Jackets doing conditioning and player development for the Capitals?

Picard was with the team way too long and I could never figure out why Howson didn’t cut him the first week that he became GM.

But Michael Arace, my point is this.  As a season-ticket holder, the team is asking me once again to shell out thousands of dollars to buy tickets for a team that has no coach, no strategy other than to save money on players by not giving them long-term contracts, and (this is the main point) no secure future in Columbus.  I could hold my nose and ignore the first two points, but I am not going to give them more money in May when I have no idea if they will stay here.  Oh sure, all the signs look positive, but still nothing has happened.  The current owner of the team has not come out and said that things are moving along and he hopes to have a deal done in the near future.  The owner of the arena has not said that it is going to reconsider what the team means to the area and propose a new lease in the near future.

No, everything is in limbo with this team.  This year’s #1 draft pick may or may not play in Columbus.  This year’s coach has yet to be hired and by the way, the team will give him way too much time to work things out when they go bad because that’s the way they do things here in Ohio.  And players (see Manny Malhota) will ask Columbus for more money to stay here because the team has no playoff potential.

I will most likely NOT renew my tickets next season.  I don’t want to hear about what they might accomplish, because I already know what they haven’t completed.  I don’t want to buy seats for a team that can’t prove it will stay here for more than three years.  I don’t want to see the GM and Coach have a tug of war over the direction and style of the team.

Besides, if I want to go to a game, I can just walk the gauntlet of scalpers and get any seat I want for a lot less than face value.  Or I can just buy a cheap ticket and move down to the lower bowl and sit in my original seats.

It’s been building, Michael, and the PSL holders are frustrated.  It’s been one thing after another.

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