directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Classic MacLean

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Classic MacLean

This was sent in by a couple of folks (Richard & Jake) and is just classic MacLean. Check out this exchange with the Fan590's Bob McCown:

McCown took issue with McLean's apparent change in allegiances (on Balsillie) on Thursday.

"I think what you’ll find is, I think a lot of people have lost a lot of respect for you,” McCown said near the end of an often raucous interview.

MacLean was not impressed.

"You’re a long way from the judge and jury," MacLean said. "For you to make a comment like that, I think you’re way out of line, bud.”

During the calmer moments of the session, MacLean acknowledged his previous criticisms of the Balsillie bid's methods — "Yeah, I was critical. No doubt about it" — but said those criticisms are what prompted the co-CEO of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion to approach him.

"I think I can be a great bridge to bring this thing together," MacLean said. "Because I’ve been on the [NHL] board of governors, because I’ve sat in with [commissioner] Gary [Bettman], because I know him, I’ve got good relationships with him. I see it as a positive. I hope they see it as a positive that now the Balsillie group have an NHL guy in their group that can help bridge this an make it work.

"As a matter of fact, I had two owners today email me and wish me luck."

His previous experience with a pair of expansion clubs weighed in his favour.

"If Jim is successful, they had to have someone in place to hit the ground running," MacLean said. "Now, if the ruling goes their way, I’m prepared on Monday to hit the ground running. They needed somebody in place to put the operation in place. The fact I did it in Columbus from scratch with the start of a franchise, that I have that experience building a franchise, they thought it was a good fit.

“I stand by my criticisms. It’s what happens going forward that I’m concerned about.”

MacLean took exception to McCown replaying clips of the former GM being critical of Balsillie's strategies in the leadup to the interview.

"What you did is you took two hours of potshots at me so that you could drive your ratings and get me on in the last 10 minutes so that you got a full house. That’s your game.”

Check out this link for more of the article.

Here are even more juicy quotes from the Globe & Mail.

McCown then drew the veteran executive’s ire, suggesting that, in his desire to return to NHL management, “You’ve crossed over a line that you drew pretty clearly in the sand.”

“C’mon Bob,” MacLean replied. “You’ve been in the business long enough, that’s an idiotic statement you just made. I’ve listened to you waffle day-to-day, and week-to-week on topics. Don’t sit there and be Mr. Wonderful. Give me a break, Bob. C’mon. Seriously, Bob, you’re bigger than that.”

“What you did is you took two hours of pot shots at me so you drive your ratings and get me on the last 10 minutes so you got a big full house. That’s your game. I know you, c’mon.”

At which point, an agitated McCown shut down the interview. With MacLean gone, he said he’d decided against playing tapes of previous MacLean polemics against Balsillie, preferring to give MacLean an open platform. “I should have known better. He’s never been civil before in any conversation we’ve ever had. He always makes it [a] personal attack and that’s what he did tonight. As long as I sit in this chair, that will be the last time I have Doug MacLean on this show... He is what he is, and he is exactly what I thought he was.”

You can also hear the interview here.

Like I said this is classic MacLean from the senior spinmeister himself. He obvioulsy desperately wants a seat back in the big game (right Tampa fans?) and will grasp at any opportunity to do so - even one as illadvised as this one.

Look Doug MacLean did a good job early of selling hockey in Columbus. I would also argue that a beautiful arena, district and a longer than usual honeymoon period also were major contributions. However the losing, the spin, the falling attendance and failed promises eventually caught up to him.

Still I have to shake my head whenever I read these comments about his success with expansion franchises. Did they miss the chapters where he almost ran this franchise into the ground?

Hey.. if anything a Balsillie/MacLean combo should be an explosive and entertaining relationship to follow. I'm just glad that fuse may be lit far far away from Columbus.



CBJ_Nut (formerly "snappy") said...

LTL: MacLean had the difficult challenge in both establishing all aspects of the Blue Jackets franchise and really "selling" hockey to a market that probably wasn't all that knowledgeable or involved (there was the Columbus Chill, of course). He has stated in the past that all he had when he arrived here was a desk, a legal pad, and a pen. I certainly agree with you that he did a good job of getting things going. I think all CBJ fans do owe him a debt of gratitude for that.

However, most might agree that he wasn't up to the challenge of managing a team and certainly serving as both GM and coach as he did for awhile. He made some questionable decisions. But, he did trade up to get Rick Nash, the best gift he left us.

But, the "spin" and BS got to be too much. This little exchange with McCown really illustrates many of the problems. I can't blame Doug for having a strong desire to "get back into the game" is some manner. But, the hypocrisy that is apparent in first criticizing Balsillie profusely and now "getting into bed with him" is just too much. Guy will say anything to his advantage. That was very evident here as well.

the Jester said...

You got it there: VINTAGE Dougie. I would love to see the rabid Hamilton fans rip him to shreds!