Recently Scott Howson was interviewed by Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline regarding the downright dismal downturn that the team has taken since October. The questions were tough and created so that he would call out certain players (everyone loves some smack talk), but Howson didn’t take the bite completely. I will, however (albeit a bit tongue-in cheek), because a) I have no social or political obligations to the team and b) I have had my ass parked in the arena since October 2001.
Here is a link to the original interview.
Here is a link to the Dark Blue Jacket Blog that suggested that other Blue Jackets fans attempt to answer the same questions.
Question: Given the expectations surrounding this club heading into this season, how surprised are you to be closer to last place than a playoff spot in the Western Conference?
As a fan, I am actually really surprised that the players that were part of such a stellar effort last season are not more excited to repeat a playoff appearance. I realize it’s a long, grueling season, however, you can’t give less than you gave and get more than you got. Haven’t these guys ever seen Rocky? I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention my distaste that the Blue Jackets are still in the Western Conference. How is that really fair? Suffering through a road trip and playing five and six games until what would be 1:00am our time doesn’t seem to be all that level of a playing “field”.
Q: What player, what aspect of the club, has been most surprising?
Good surprise: Raffi Torres. Bad surprise: Steve Mason, the Blue Jackets inability to clench a SO win – tie.
Q: Why is coach Ken Hitchcock the right coach for this club right now?
Because Scott Howson says so.
Q: You have one of the youngest clubs in the NHL. Does he work well with a group like that?
Viva Dave King.
Q: Do you feel like you over-estimated Derick Brassard, expecting him to be a No. 1 center this season?
I think Derek Brassard is completely aware of how much the club expected of his play. If he didn’t exhibit the skill and confidence that led to this expectation than he would never have been placed there. You don’t just get given a No. 1 spot, especially in Hitch style hockey. The sooner these guys learn that, the harder they are going to play. You can’t keep a guy on the No. 1 line that is just not performing.
Q: How close did you come to making a deal over the last few days, before the NHL’s holiday roster freeze went into effect on Saturday?
Not as close as you should have.
Q: Do you consider talking during the next week, even though you can’t make a move until after Dec. 26?
Everyone knows we need help.
Q: Any thought given to a minor league call-up?
Anyone that will play harder and better than anyone on our current team should get a chance. That should send a pretty clear message.
Q: You made one change to your blue line last offseason, adding defenseman Anton Stralman. If you had it to do over again, would you have done more to upgrade the defense?
I think upgrades are needed defensively. No one expected Mason to perform this inconsistently to last year. Now with Klesla likely to be affected by his injury for quite a while a solid enforcer/defenseman would be very beneficial to the team.
Q: Could this club use another strong veteran presence in the dressing room?
Two words: Brendan. Shanahan. You missed him when you had the chance!!
Q: You talk about “going through the process” and “working through it”, but isn’t that what last season was about? Didn’t you feel like you’d already gone through all of this?
As a fan, I felt like we went through this. I really had a lot of hope after last season ended.
Q: Do you need an enforcer?
Can someone please teach Mirasty how to play hockey?
Q: [Why or] Why not?
Because beating the shit out of someone has sent the same message since the time of the Holy Crusades.
Q: Sitting here, five days before Christmas, do you still feel as if that’s a playoff-caliber club?
Sadly, no. Nash better remember what that ‘C’ stands for…