Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch spent his Saturday covering something unique — a 250-person protest slamming Blue Jackets management for its dismal on-ice product.
The protest was emceed by an anonymous figure called CapnCornelius (it’s his hockey message board handle — he won’t reveal his actual name) and featured six speakers, all relaying the same message to irate BJs fans and the hockey world:
We love the team. We hate the management group.
The two primary targets for the day were President Mike Priest and GM Scott Howson. The pair are seen as the primary culprits for Columbus’ woes, something BJs fan Robert Allen explained.
“The current management team has already tried this several times over the years and the results are the same — losing,” Allen said. “Perhaps the ones doing the tweaking are doing it wrong. … I don’t think the same people tweaking in the past should be the same ones tweaking in the future.”
While Priest and Howson received a lion’s share of the criticism, owner John P. McConnell caught some heat as well. Many felt his refusal to connect losing with the front office has hurt the team — McConnell recently told The Dispatch that Priest “doesn’t have anything to do with” the team’s on-ice performance.
It has to be said the protest’s tone was occasionally positive. The emcee stated “We are here today, not of anger, but of love for this team,” at the onset…but given how bad the Blue Jackets have been, there was a fair share of negativity.
Case in point? On Saturday, Columbus received word that it would be hosting the 2013 NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena.
In response, one speaker asked if the Blue Jackets would even have a player on the team.
(Photo courtesy Columbus Post-Dispatch)