Could it be the management?
The Blue Jackets have had three general managers. While no one is perfect, each one of them had their flaws that led to losing from their team. Doug MacLean made terrible draft picks and brought in older players that were no longer in their prime. Scott Howson made questionable trades and brought players in that didn’t want to be here. Jarmo Kekalainan has been the best general manager in terms of the on-ice result but has had difficulty convincing [good] players to stay with the organization. The reason for this is unknown, but many believe it is due to his tough contract negotiation tactics or the tough culture he is trying to instill.
All three general managers have struggled to get the organization to win and be a consistent winner. The Blue Jackets need a general manager who sets the culture and attitude of the organization. Someone who knows how they want to team and organization to function. Someone who can identify talented players that fit that culture, convince them in join the organization, and convince them to stay within the organization. That person must be respected and well established in the hockey world.
So, what could it be? The answer must be all of the above. Any successful organization (whether in sports or business) has a great culture and mindset, which starts from the top down. The owner is at the top. He must invest in the team and allow the proper management to run the team. Great management sets the standard for culture and brings in others who fit in with that culture, work ethic, talent level, and mindset. Good coaches and training staff establish good game plans and get the most out of their players. Then there’s the players: the people who execute the vision and achieve the goals of the organization. This organization has had issues at every level and the results have been 23 years of mediocrity.
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This organization needs to take a long look in the mirror from the top down. After 23 years, something is just not right and needs to be fix. Everyone from the outside can see that and now it’s time for those on the inside to see it too. It won’t be a small fix and it there may be some sour pills to swallow. But if this organization ever was to assert itself as anything but a loser, significant changes need to be made.
There’s an old saying: Only a fool tries the same thing twice and expects different results. If this organization wants different results, then changes need to be made.