I don’t mind being the fan of a team that isn’t winning. I don’t even mind being a fan of a team that has never been successful. Prior to the Jackets my biggest sporting attachment was to the Texas Rangers. I grew up with that team, followed them through thin and more thin. I was lifted up when they made their first ever playoff appearance the fall AFTER I graduated from college, and crushed when they proceeded to win one game in three trips to the playoffs before sinking back into mediocrity. The last two years have been heartbreaking Octobers.

I can live with clueless ownership. I can shake my head and grumble at management that makes the same mistakes over and over again. See Rangers, above.

What I can stand are two things: a team that acts without class or professionalism and a fan base that becomes embarrassing to be associated with. Although to be honest only the first is one I had to consider up until this week.

I refer to the planned protest at Nationwide Arena this Saturday afternoon. Before I get going let me say that it is good that there are fans that care deeply enough to organize and be involved in such an event. I also support a fan’s right to make his displeasure known to management and ownership. When a team has been milking a fan base or living of off alternative revenue streams, fans should act.

But this is not such a situation. First, let’s start with a protest at an empty arena. It’s the weekend of the All-Star game. There are no games this weekend; no players will be at the arena. No ownership is meeting there. Management is not going to be hanging around the office on a Saturday afternoon. Hopefully, Scott Howson and Craig Patrick are visiting with other GM’s this weekend in Ottawa and then following up at the AHL All-Star game.

Not only poorly timed, but poorly thought out. The apparent purpose of the protest is to show anger over the retention Howson as GM and Mike Priest as President. Reports (you know: rumors with no sources) stated that recent ownership meetings decided to retain Howson and Priest through the end of the season. I would guess that those reports (unsourced rumors) are the seed that caused the protest.

Leaving aside the question of whether Howson and Priest should go, the question of where these reports (unsourced rumors) came from should be asked. The Blue Jackets are not very good at hockey, but they are very good at keeping information to themselves. This is the organization that kept every detail of its third jersey under wraps, until the org. wanted it out. A change in management is not going to be announced by reports (unsourced rumors) given to random hockey writers. If you doubt this, look at how often the look newspaper writers have had the inside information on signings, trades, or other moves. Hint: it approaches zero.

So we have a group that is protesting to nobody about something that may or may not happen. What do they want to happen after Howson and Priest are fired? Well, the team to get better. This is sweet and all, but it is stupid. If anybody thinks that John McConnell is going to fire his management team without a replacement team already in hand, then they just aren’t paying attention. So, you say it’s not our job to tell them whom to hire! But I am afraid it is. Once one takes on the burden of telling somebody to fire an employee, one also gets the responsibility of filling that position in some way. As they say in the business world, don’t come to your boss with a problem; come to your boss with a solution.

Everybody is frustrated; the need to see something done is great. A trade, a firing, a hiring, anything to satisfy the anger. But action with no plan is worse than waiting a few weeks or months. In the meantime, the front office does need to open up and communicate more with the fanbase. Only so much can be done leading up to the trade deadline, but more active involvement from John P. McConnell for a few months might help to reassure everybody that somebody is paying attention.