Marty Turco

Now I see why Dallas let him go.  For those of you who doubt me, just skip to the 1:53 mark.


Arace Gets Political

Who is he writing about?  Obama?

In 40 months, general manager Scott Howson has overhauled the roster and the coaching staff. His predecessor had 111 months and left a nine-year mess. Is it cleaned up? Not fully, not yet.

Jackets Going Wild?

This morning, the usually rational Dispatch writer Michael Arace wrote a piece comparing the 2010 Blue Jackets to the Minnesota Wild of last season.

The Wild instituted a seismic change in the summer of 2009. It parted ways with the only coach the franchise ever had: Jacques Lemaire, the famed French trapper. Minnesota fired its original general manager, Doug Risebrough, and replaced him with Chuck Fletcher. Fletcher hired young Todd Richards as the new coach, and Richards came in preaching an up-tempo style.

In Richards’ first season, the Wild scored 219 goals, allowed 246 and missed the playoffs by 11 points. The previous season under Lemaire, the Wild scored 219 goals, allowed 200 and missed the playoffs by two points.

Oh yeah, Arace later whines about not having Kevin Dineen back in Columbus.  I don’t see the same thing that Arace does because the Wild really never had an offense last season.  They got rid of Marion Gaborik (taken ahead of Klesla) and bet on a Koivu brother for scoring.  Imagine the Blue Jackets trading Rick Nash and then trying to score more goals.  I know, but death is not an option.

The Jackets are an unknown at this time.  They might still be a Ken Hitchcock team with the addition of the little Russian kid.  They might be an NHL version of the Manitoba Moose.  But it is too early to label them.  We might not find out until January how they play.  Speed is critical in the NHL, like it always has been, and we shall see if the team can keep up with the rest of their Conference. I’m going to withhold judgment, not because I’m lazy, but I simply don’t know what to believe.  Was last year’s team good enough to try them again this year?  Did the rest of the NHL hold steady, so the Jackets merely followed course?

Rob Oller Speaks! About The Blue Jackets!

I can’t say that we were not warned about this morning’s column from Rob Oller, a sportswriter at The Dispatch who is sometimes forced to cover non-OSU events.  And last night was one of those nights when Ray Stein, Sports Editor of The Dispatch and a man who has to think about many, many sports, some of them also non-OSU things, sent Rob Oller to Nationwide Arena to watch the local hockey team play an exhibition game and then tell us what needs to be done.

Well, Rob Oller did not disappoint those of us who read about hockey.  We are all fortunate to read a bland, meaningless piece about how the youngsters have to deliver now.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Anyway, Rob Oller provides us with his special insights, telling us how Ken Hitchcock used to coach some of these youngsters and he did not like having them on the ice together.  Rob Oller loved Ken Hitchcock because Hitch was the local coach who most closely reminded him of Woody Hayes.

Anyway, as is the case, Rob Oller does not tell us anything we didn’t already know.  He doesn’t expand upon anything that he (and the rest of us) observed last night.  He didn’t say that the youngsters must produce this year because Scott Howson did not attempt to sign anyone else.  He did not say that Jacket fans are waiting to see this year if Nikita Filatov really is a genuine NHL player, or if Derick Brassard is more than a potential journeyman player.

It would have been nice to read something informative for the occasional hockey fan.  Something that says, hey, I know most of my readers couldn’t care less about the Blue Jackets, but really, you should get out and see them this season because they are going to let these kids show their stuff.  And these kids have the credentials to be good NHL players, so they might be entertaining.  So instead of having a 24 hour tailgate party this weekend, maybe you should get down to Nationwide this Friday to see these young guys face the Pittsburgh Penguins.

No, Rob Oller just mailed it in this morning.  He told us that the kids did OK, but the future is not predictable yet.  No need to take your mind off Eastern Michigan University and their impending slaughter.

I can’t wait until next season when Rob Oller is forced to cover the local hockey team again.

CBJ Tickets Sales

A follow-up here to my earlier post and a few comments to other bloggers.

Yes, the CBJ sent players to baseball games in Cincinnati and Cleveland, but that had more to do with FSN Ohio in the case of Cincinnati.  You see, if you’re Fox Sports, you have two marquis attractions, the Cavaliers and the Blue Jackets.  The Cavs without LeBron are going to draw a few hundred viewers on a good night while in Cincinnati and Cleveland, the Blue Jackets will draw about the same.  FSN has a lot invested in these two teams and they are going to have a very hard time selling commercials.

As for Cleveland, it makes sense to promote the CBJ in that market because it is a large hockey market.  Sorry Columbus, but the road to youth hockey success does go through Cleveland after it winds through Toledo.  If I were the Jackets, I would put together a unique ticket promotion for Cleveland (and Toledo) area fans.  Tie it to something local, like a Cleveland area restaurant.

Regarding the local economy, it no doubt has hurt ticket sales for Columbus.  But I don’t see the Jackets doing any marketing to overcome a bad economy.  Most restaurants changed their pricing to convince people to eat out.  I know the Jackets will probably do something with Pepsi and Giant Eagle again, but the trouble is they wait until November before they act.  If I was Mike Priest, I would make damn sure that opening night was sold out, a positive experience for the fans and the team.  But I don’t have his background in accounting or lease negotiations.

Finally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to trash attendance at Reds games.  The unemployment rate is nearly a full percentage point higher in Cincinnati compared to Columbus.  And we know how tough things are in Cleveland.  Nobody came to Clippers’ games this season, either.  So be nice and remember that the Jackets are Ohio’s team.

CBJ Business Prospects

I will be posting more on this in the upcoming weeks, but my immediate thoughts are not good.  Seven thousand season tickets? And you know, only half of those are full season packages.  The rest are half season packs and other specials, combined to forty game counts to come up with the 7,000 number.

Maybe the team should have lowered the price of tickets this year, just a bit, to show the fans that the team would put some skin in the game and tell the fans that yes, things were bad last season, but we are so confident that they will improve in 2010 that we lowered our prices to get you into Nationwide to see for yourself.

Or maybe they should hire a local blogger or two, have them post on the official team site, comparing and contrasting our team to the others in the Western Conference.  You know, get out the story that hey, Nashville did not improve this year, so we should be able to compete with them, and you know what, our team is probably better than Dallas and Minnesota and maybe Anaheim.  Other teams do that.  So we should have better odds to make the playoffs right out of the gate.

The Jackets tell me that they’re working on this, but the truth is the team is surrendering to reality.  We’re small market, so what do you expect?  And we can’t get anybody excited about us because of Ohio State, so why bother to make noise?  Hey, we have one real all-star, Rick Nash, but that’s it.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  I wish the McConnell family would sell the team to someone in Columbus who will try or do things differently.  Someone who can focus on hockey instead of treating the team as part of their portfolio.  Our local university churns out lots of sports business majors every year and I’ll bet that a few of them, with their fresh ideas and youth and enthusiasm and desire to stay in Columbus, would work for pennies compared to some big-time hockey consultant group.

It all comes down to money.  The team will make more money by selling more tickets, and you sell more tickets when you give people a reason to buy them.  It won’t be much fun for the players hitting the ice at Nationwide in front of only 10,000 people.

So if I could run the team, I would clean out a lot of the non-hockey business people and try some new things.  After I call Nationwide up and say get me a new lease or we’re out of here.

Typo’s and iPads

Sorry about all of the typo’s that have appeared in this blog lately.  I bought an iPad this summer and have had trouble using the keyboard.  I’m not casting aspersions on the iPad, but just letting you know that my fat fingers are not an easy fit for the soft keypad that comes with it.  I thoroughly enjoy it and think it is one of the best gadgets I’ve ever purchased.

It would be nice if WordPress had a native iPad application, hint hint.  But since this blog is a web app, I can live with it.

Now about those season ticket sales at Nationwide.  I was thinking of taking my iPad to a few games this season, but with all the open seats that are going to be available, I’ll take my desktop computer instead and just set up a normal workspace.