Botched head coaching hire points to dysfunctional Blue Jacket organization

We were under the impression that the Blue Jackets would announce a new head coach earlier this week. Instead, we're left wondering what happened after an apparently botched hiring.
NHL Global Series - Arizona Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings
NHL Global Series - Arizona Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings / Josh Chadwick/GettyImages

The Blue Jackets certainly seemed to be on track to hire Todd McLellan, who emerged as an early favorite for their vacant head coaching position. The moment new GM Don Waddell fired Pascal Vincent; McLellan was an obvious candidate for a variety of reasons.

Obviously, the team would desire his experience, and his history of willing teams into winning cultures. That's exactly what they need for their young roster: a respectable voice from a proven winner.

But this is the Columbus Blue Jackets we're talking about. Of course they fumbled the bag. It's in their tradition, after all.

It doesn't seem to matter who is in charge of the team from a GM perspective at this point. Dysfunction seems to be the one consistency within the organization. From the top down, the whole thing feels disjointed. It has since the very beginning.

This botched head coaching hire is another glaring example. Clearly, the new GM - one that was hired here specifically to thrust this organization into perennial contention - found his preferred coaching candidate.

Yet somewhere, somehow, they failed to secure that head coach. In spite of the fact that they're the only team in the league currently looking for a new head coach. How does that happen?

Was it truly a case of the team not wanting to pay him what he's worth? Or was it a matter of term? Or, was it a combination of both? In my opinion, none of this should matter. You found your guy, and it should not be too difficult to find common ground. After all, you know exactly how much he was making at his last job.

Here's why that cost or term shouldn't matter: The league has a hard salary cap for players, which means that in order to truly contend, you need to spend more money on good management and coaching. That's the one area where teams can throw some extra money to ice a better team.

The Jackets have operated on an inexpensive level for the last several years. They haven't been spending up to the cap. They've also hired inexpensive coaches (Mike Babcock being the exception). Why wouldn't you be willing to pay more for a strong coach, when the roster suddenly has an influx of good young players?

The mistakes that were made before, were made by the previous GM of the team. You let him go because of the mistakes. That doesn't mean you have to hold the new GM to tighter standards.

We know they're paying Vincent next season, but I can't imagine he's making much more than an entry level NHL player. People have speculated that the team is still paying out Babcock, which is entirely possible. But, we know that it isn't his full reported amount ($4m per year). They came to some kind of agreement behind closed doors.

The point here is this: you hired Don Waddell because you didn't believe in the direction the previous manager was taking this team. Now, you have to give him full control; and the money to make the moves he wants and needs to make. Trust is the key word.

In short, if a quicker turn-around to success means you have to spend more money on coaching than you have in the past, you have to do it. That's the cost of success.

Otherwise, why did you go out and hire the best available GM? If you're going to clip his wings, you might have been better off paying someone far less for that job. After all, you clearly aren't serious about icing a competitive hockey team. Letting the best head coach on the market walk away is a clear indication of that.