Doug MacLean. The GM we loved to hate.
The Dispatch had an interview this morning with Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell. Here are some highlights:
Q: It’s impossible to look forward without looking back. Why was Doug MacLean fired?
A: He had a habit of making people mad at him. I told him one time, ‘Never fight with the people who buy their ink by the barrel.’ That’s an old saying, but I don’t think Doug understood that. Doug was a good guy. I liked him. But he had a quick temper and a big ego. Those two don’t mix.
Q: Doug had as much power here as any team executive in the NHL. Do you regret giving him what amounted to absolute power?
A: Yes, I do. I should have had a president with him. It probably would have been better if we had a president working with him.
Q: How many times did you expand the budget at Doug’s suggestion with the promise of a better hockey club?
A: He was never given a budget by me. I never gave him a budget.
Q: He never had a budget?
A: No. We had an idea where we wanted to be, but we never gave him a hard cap on what he could spend on players. There was no cap, other than the NHL’s (salary) cap.
Q: Is it true you haven’t yet made money in any single Blue Jackets season?
A: That’s correct.
The budget question is definitely an eye opener. The Jackets are a small market team and will never have the free wheeling spending opportunities of markets like Philadelphia or NYR. They have to make every dollar count. So when McConnell says we have spent enough to win he is right – the old administration just hadn’t spent it in the right areas like coaching for example…..or identifying the proper free agents to spend it on.
I’ve heard way to many stories about the way things were run under MacLean and it all adds up to the Blue Jackets being his own personal playground. I think a 40 million dollar player budget is going to go a lot further now under the new regime.
The biggest positive out of all this mess is that the Jackets ownership has learned something here and that is not to put all your eggs in one basket. There needs to be checks and balances within any organization including pro franchises. That has now been addressed and as a couple of players who have been around the organization for a long time have said “it feels real now”.
Read more on of this article here.