Scott Howson

Ex-Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson picked as next AHL president

Former Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson will be the American Hockey League’s next president and CEO.

The AHL’s board of governors Friday unanimously elected Howson as Dave Andrews’ successor. Andrews served in that role for the past 26 years.

“It’s a completely different challenge for me,” Howson said by phone. “I’ve seen the league just grow in reputation and stature and presence over the last 20, 25 years. Dave’s been a tremendous leader. I care about it. I want it to continue.”

The 59-year-old, who has a law degree from Canada’s York University, takes over effective July 1. He is currently the Edmonton Oilers’ director of player development and previously spent six seasons as GM for Columbus.

Howson’s first management job came in the AHL, and he’s familiar with the history and tradition. After falling out of touch with the AHL while running the Blue Jackets, the Toronto native reconnected in recent years and was intrigued by the possibility of succeeding Andrews.

“There’s a unique purpose to this: You’re serving others as opposed to trying to win every game,” Howson said. “You’re acting in the best interest of the whole league, and I find that quite appealing.”

Howson said making sure every franchise is healthy and continuing to build the AHL’s brand are among his biggest tasks. It helps that he has a rapport with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and many GMs.

“We know what we are,” Howson said. “We’re a development league. You’ve got to make sure that the relationship with the NHL head office and the NHL general managers and the teams, we’re serving their needs. You’ve got to take care of the product first and make sure that we’re serving the (NHL’s) needs.”

Andrews is retiring but will remain chairman of the AHL’s board of governors.

“The American Hockey League from where he took over to where it is today as a business has progressed enormously,” Daly said of Andrews. “I think his legacy will be as an innovator and somebody who’s really helped grow the American Hockey League.”

Howson assumes control of a 31-team league that now extends to California. Andrews during his tenure oversaw the merger of the AHL and International Hockey League and expansion across North America.

“All very significant moves forward,” said Daly, who has worked closely with Andrews for more than a decade. “He’s also been very innovative and worked closely with our general managers in terms of testing rules and helping us understand the pros and cons of those rules.”

The AHL tested versions of 3-on-3 overtime and hybrid icing rules before they were implemented by the NHL.

Report: Jackets prospect Murray has torn labrum

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We told you the other night about Blue Jackets 2012 first-round pick Ryan Murray hurting his shoulder playing for his junior team. The update on how he’s doing doesn’t look promising.

Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports Murray may have a torn labrum in the shoulder. It’s unknown if he needs surgery to fix the tear, but if he does, he would miss up to four months of action.

“Surgery is not a certainty at this point,” Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said. “We aren’t going to make a decision until Dr. (Larry) Watson is able to see him and examine him.”

If the NHL gets underway in the meantime, that would put Murray out of the Blue Jackets’ plans until at least March. Ouch. This kind of news makes you wonder who in the Jackets organization broke a few mirrors or walked under a ladder because this run of misfortune is astounding.

There is still the outside chance that Murray’s shoulder won’t need an operation, but having your top prospect getting hurt badly enough that it’s an option is less than optimal.

Davidson close to deal with Blue Jackets

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John Davidson’s long flirtation with the Columbus Blue Jackets is reportedly about to pay off.

Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch says the two sides are close to signing off on a deal that will make Davidson the President of Hockey Operations.

Portzline also reports general manager Scott Howson, assistant GM Chris MacFarland, and senior adviser of hockey operations Craig Patrick will retain their jobs with the team. The catch here is that Davidson will be the boss of all three guys.

As you might remember, Davidson was allowed to look for a new job when Tom Stillman bought the St. Louis Blues and the one team he gravitated towards immediately was Columbus. He’ll have his hands full in trying to help turn the Jackets around as they’ve made the playoffs just once in team history.

Report: Columbus tried to “make a splash” by signing Jagr

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It might feel strange to see Jaromir Jagr in a Dallas Stars jersey, but what if he was setting off cannons in Columbus?

Aaron Portzline reports that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson extended a one-year, $4.2 million offer to Jagr, who eventually accepted a bit more ($4.5 million) with Dallas.

Portzline points out someone who would have a “heavy hand” in bringing in Jagr: new CBJ adviser Craig Patrick drafted him as the Pittsburgh Penguins GM.

Jagr told Randy Miller that he almost felt like Patrick viewed him as “his kid” back when he asked to be traded from Pittsburgh.

“He drafted me. I felt like I was his kid or something,” Jagr said. “I think it would be tough for him to trade me if I didn’t come to him and say it.”

So there’s a fun “What if?” scenario for you.

The Blue Jackets did draft Jakub Voracek – aka “Jagr Jr.” – so it would have been an odd full circle moment.

Instead, Sergei Fedorov remains arguably the strangest Blue Jacket yet.

NHL investigation says human error caused L.A.’s clock problem in February

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Remember when time actually stood still in Los Angeles back in February? The Kings were able to score a go-ahead goal with less than a second to play over the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks to the clock being slow to start after a face off.

As it turns out, the NHL’s investigation into what caused the clock to not start on time was pretty simple. Sean Fitz-Gerald of The National Post reports it was human error that worked in the Kings’ favor.

On Thursday, Peter Hurzeler, a veteran official in charge of timing at the Olympics, put it in simple terms: “It’s manual — the clock doesn’t know when it has to stop.”

It sounds like such a simple explanation, but when you have error-prone humans (something all of us are) running machines that are mostly flawless, these things will happen.

At the very least, this whole situation got us an amazingly snarky post from Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson and a fascinating explanation from Kings GM Dean Lombardi about coulombs and how time functions.