In an unprecedented move, Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson blogged on the team’s website today, asking fans to “stand and fight” as the team looks to rebound from an 0-7-1 start.
The state of Ohio hasn’t seen such raw, unfiltered emotion from a front-office executive since Dan Gilbert discovered Comic Sans.
Just under three weeks ago, we started the 2011-12 season with a high level of optimism and positive energy following a summer of transformation and development for our hockey club. What has transpired since has felt like we – management, coaches, players and fans – have been punched in the gut.
No one saw this coming. We had a strong training camp with good results in the preseason. The only negatives coming out of September were the James Wisniewski suspension and injuries to Mark Dekanich and Jared Boll. As we prepared to take the ice on Opening Night vs. Nashville, we talked about the emotions we felt at this time of year. We talked about words like excitement, anticipation, hope and optimism.
The first three weeks have been extremely difficult for all of us. The responsibility for where we are lies with me, our management staff, coaches and players. It does not lie with Brendan Shanahan or the NHL or the officials. It is not about luck. The responsibility for getting us out of it lies also with us… all of us doing it together.
This is where the post moves from “listening to old R.E.M records” to “listening to Tony Robbins on tape.” Howson goes on to say the organization understands that fans are angry and frustrated, but vows to turn things around.
How? According to Howson…
— The Jackets are “working together to look for solutions.” Which is good to know. You’d be worried if the organization’s plan was to “sit around hoping everything will be okay,” or “escape to Playa del Carmen for a week.”
— The organization is taking a page from Bill Walsh’s book The Score Takes Care of Itself, in which Walsh emphasizes standing and fighting after suffering a setback. If that doesn’t work, Columbus will try running the West Coast offense.
— Ninety percent of Columbus’ season still remains, which is “more than enough time to reach the goals we set for ourselves.” That’s better than pointing out Columbus is somehow seven points out of a playoff spot already.
All joking aside, it takes major guts to do what Howson did. The entire Blue Jackets organization might be accepting responsibility for this disastrous start, but Howson stepped up and became the face of it all. Heck, he even threw in his Twitter handle (@GMScottHowson) at the end.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Blue Jackets react tonight as they host the Red Wings. Speaking of, did you know Detroit has outscored Columbus 61-30 while going 15-1-2 in the last 18 head-to-head matchups?
Maybe the stand and fight thing can start on Thursday instead.