directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets owner McConnell "Doug was a good guy. I liked him. But he had a quick temper and a big ego. Those two don't mix."

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jackets owner McConnell "Doug was a good guy. I liked him. But he had a quick temper and a big ego. Those two don't mix."

The Dispatch has a great interview this morning with Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell (pictured right) that touches on a number of subjects. Here are some highlights:

Q: It's impossible to look forward without looking back. Why was Doug MacLean fired?
A: He had a habit of making people mad at him. I told him one time, 'Never fight with the people who buy their ink by the barrel.' That's an old saying, but I don't think Doug understood that. Doug was a good guy. I liked him. But he had a quick temper and a big ego. Those two don't mix.
Q: Doug had as much power here as any team executive in the NHL. Do you regret giving him what amounted to absolute power?
A: Yes, I do. I should have had a president with him. It probably would have been better if we had a president working with him.

Q: How many times did you expand the budget at Doug's suggestion with the promise of a better hockey club?
A: He was never given a budget by me. I never gave him a budget.

Q: He never had a budget?
A: No. We had an idea where we wanted to be, but we never gave him a hard cap on what he could spend on players. There was no cap, other than the NHL's (salary) cap.

Q: Is it true you haven't yet made money in any single Blue Jackets season?
A: That's correct.

Some very interesting stuff there. I knew the Jackets had lost money the past couple of years but I had also heard the Jackets made a little over those first couple of years. Of course owners make their money when they sell the team. He bought it for 80 million and right now teams are selling for upwards of 180. Still though you don't want to bleeding red every single season.

I always love to read it when McConnell says he bought this team for the city of Columbus. I believe him when he says it as well. I think that is the biggest reason why fans of the team adore him. I hope he never sells as unrealistic as that sounds.

The budget question is definitely an eye opener. Now he may not have set an absolute number but there was and is definitely a ball park figure that past and present GMs had to work with and it didn't include spending to the cap. The Jackets are a small market team and will never have the free wheeling spending opportunities of markets like Philadelphia or NYR. They have to make every dollar count. So when McConnell says we have spent enough to win he is right - the old administration just hadn't spent it in the right areas like coaching for example.....or identifying the proper free agents to spend it on.

I've heard way to many stories about the way things were run under MacLean and it all adds up to the Blue Jackets being his own personal playground. I think a 40 million dollar player budget is going to go a lot further now under the new regime. I also believe when the time is right to add the right piece, ownership will come through. As GM Howson has said, that time is not now as right now the foundation is being rebuilt properly and no 6 million a year player can fix that. We've tried enough quick fix band aid solutions (Fedorov, Foote, Carter) without addressing the real problem.

The biggest positive out of all this mess is that the Jackets ownership has learned something here and that is not to put all your eggs in one basket. There needs to be checks and balances within any organization including pro franchises. That has now been addressed and as a couple of players who have been around the organization for a long time have said "it feels real now".

Read more on of this article here.

I'll have a pre-game post a little later regarding the Buffalo game tonight at Nationwide Arena


1 comment:

Truth Serum said...

It certainly was an eye-opener, but it also confirmed some of the issues that MacLean created all by himself. It would be nice if George and Bill would read the interview out loud on the radio so everyone could hear once and for all what the real situation with MacLean was.

By the way, nice blog. Keep up the postings.