I have a friend that is a pretty big Blue Jackets fan. He has a young family that precludes him from buying many tickets or merchandise, but he still makes it to a dozen or so games a year, and watches every other game (live or on DVR) on television.
He knows how much I love hockey, and so we talk pretty regularly about the sport, as well as the local team.
My friend (let’s call him Rod Tidwell after also briefly considering Bob Sacamano) was downright giddy about this time last year. I wish I would have saved of the text messages I received after Columbus has traded for Jeff Carter. Those texts certainly would have been nominated for the “Emoticon Hall of Fame” if there was such a thing.
His excitement turned to euphoria when the trade for James Wisniewski’s rights was completed. “Rod” had always been frustrated with Scott Howson’s patience, and was now energized by his boldness.
Rod even told me that he had a hard time sleeping the night of June 30th because he was so anxious to see if the Jackets could sign Wisniewski before he became an unrestricted free agent. Rod told me (with pride in his voice I believe) that he was waking up every hour or so during the night to check Twitter. His lack of sleep was an afterthought when the deal was completed.
Of course, we all know how last season turned out. Scott Howson had indeed made big moves, but they didn’t turn out to necessarily be the right ones.
One year later, making the right moves, not just big ones, are imperative. Once again, the Blue Jackets have a lot on their plate: they need to trade Rick Nash, augment the scoring up front, figure out the goaltending situation, and decide on a player with the second overall pick.
I blogged about this time last year that Scott Howson had proven that he could quickly overhaul a roster, illustrating moves in the summer of 2008 that brought Jan Hejda, Raffi Torres and Fedor Tyutin to the Blue Jackets. The tone of that blog was that Howson had proven he could make shrewd moves in a short time span that worked out.
Howson did pull the trigger on Carter and Wisniewski last year, as well as signing free agents Radek Martinek & Vinny Prospal.
I would hope that Blue Jackets fans, like Rod, are far more cautious with their expectations this summer. Yes, Howson will certainly make some moves, and some of them will be “big”.
It remains to be seen if they are the right ones for the team. For Rod and his fellow Blue Jackets’ fans…I would say “show me the money!”