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Sunday, November 4, 2007

What if MacLean was still in charge...


Tonight's win against St. Louis (which I'll have a breakdown later) really got me thinking -- what if former GM Doug MacLean were still in charge -- would we be 8-3-2? Maybe but not likely -- here is what we would have:

1. Jody Shelley would be playing every game b/c Doug would insist thus we would not be able to roll 4 lines.

2. Derick Brassard would be on this team b/c he scored the most points in training camp. What wouldn't be taken into account is that he's primarily playing a perimeter game while collecting most his points on the powerplay and needs the seasoning to realize that it will take more than that to play at the level demanded by Hitchcock.

3. We'd have a number of injuries besides Modin b/c never before was the strength and conditioning coach allowed to do his job and prepare this team and hold them accountable in the offseason. Think Pascal Leclaire would be healthy? There have been reports that this kid just now started taking working out seriously and that he got by before mostly on talent -- he was not alone either.

4. This team would still be on the only one in the NHL to have a GM office in the locker room.

5. The best players would not have made this team. I'd still see Russell here because he's the sexy offensive talent that MacLean loves but Jarred Boll would not be in this lineup -- why? -- because Jody Shelley would be dressed every night.

6. Would Nikolai Zherdev be playing at the level he's at? I suspect Hitch would have upped his game intensity despite MacLean's presence but I also suspect Z would not be at the level he's at without a clean slate that he discussed in person with GM Scott Howson this summer.

7. Attendance would still be inflated. I promise you Jacket fans, there is not a significant drop in attendance from last year......the numbers were inflated by MacLean to save his own skin. What you are seeing reported now are actual tickets sold -- the Jackets cannot afford to lose out on revenue sharing and give away thousands of free tickets like MacLean did in his time as boss.

8. A painc'd public tirade would have been made due to the Svitov departure instead of remaining calm, reacting and making a calculated move in adding a veteran player at a reasonable deal that fills an immediate hole in Michael Peca.

8. Our first round pick from this season (Voracek) would have been traded for a player that probably would not have helped us this year.

9. This team would not be 8-3-2 because Hitch would not have been given the complete freedom to cook the meal he desired with the ingredients provided. MacLean would have wanted to help cook.

10. A flashy free agent would have been signed to take the attention off the real problems with this organization which were internal and hard for the public to see.

As this team has gotten off to a good start look for MacLean to bubble out from the lagoon to say that "these are his players" and that "I can't believe the way attendance has dipped since I left" -- what he'll fail to say are the 10 points I listed above.

Look Doug MacLean did some good things off the ice in terms of marketing hockey in Central Ohio but I've often told friends that it has become crystal clear to me that this organization was like that turkey from the movie Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase when he was captain of the CBJ ship.....the turkey looked fabulous and tasty from the outside but once you cut into it you realized what an ugly mess it really was.
-LTL

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