Monday, June 4, 2007

Bob Murray takes his name off the list...

We may never know exactly why Bob Murray decided that the Blue Jackets General Manager position wasn't something he was willing to move for. The Dispatch hints that it was the fact that his family talked and decided they liked where he was better.

Some points that may have factored in the decision:

- The Murray family lives in Chicago. This would take a 3 hour flight home down to a 1/2 hour flight home. Which commute would you rather have in a family emergency?

- Murrays title in Anaheim is that of Executive Vice-President of Hockey Operations. He is not the GM or Assistant GM. That takes a lot of the heat off him for failures, and gives him a chance to have an active role without quite the level of public responsibility.

- The Blue Jackets have an established winner behind the bench that it is clearly there on mandate from the ownership. Any potential GM has to know coming in that he's going to be working with Ken Hitchcock and more importantly, Hitchcocks style of play whether he wants to or not.

- Being the #2 or #3 guy with an established winner with good young talent, or take a chance on molding a current loser into a winner? I get the feeling that the executives who will be most interested in this position are the guys who are up and comers without the experience CBJ ownership covets, or long established GM's who have never had a shot at the big chair. Murray is neither.

We'll see where this leads, with all sorts of possibilities coming back into play. Scott Howson, Asst. GM of the Oilers, has been asked to interview, and while he likely will, it seems doubtful he'll drop out of one of the most hockey rabid markets in the league to come to Columbus, even if he faces somewhat of a rebuilding task in Edmonton. While some fans would be loathe to hear it, I think this further points towards an inexperienced person at the helm. And while it still seems doubtful, it still leaves a crack open for the two in-house candidates, Boyd and Clark, to find a way into the seat.

As a final point, this turn of events would seem to limit the impact of the new GM upon the CBJ's selections in the upcoming draft.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesdays is Shoot from the Wrist day

Every Wednesday, I'm going to go through a sort of laundry list of topics that probably don't deserve their own posts, but fit as topics within a group of quick hit posts. I'm calling this Shoot From the Wrist day. Without further ado:

  • Word is the next GM of the CBJ will be Anaheim Ducks Assistant GM Bob Murray. I don't know that this is shocking, as it was well known the CBJ were looking for someone with experience, and preferred someone with a recent track record of winning, if just to help appease a somewhat disgruntled fan base. I will personally be pleased with this turn of events should it come to fruition. He played over 1,000 games in the league, and has sat in the GM chair in Chicago. He also has been heavily involved in the Ducks trading and drafting successes. A final point on this, Murray oversaw the hiring of Portland (AHL) Coach Kevin Dineen, and that alone tells me he knows hockey smarts when he sees it.

  • While it isn't news at this point that Roger Clemens is returning to the Yankees, what is news is the predictions being made of what he can bring to the team. I've heard talk of possibly an 11-4 record and a sub 4.00 ERA. I find this more than a little hard to believe with the way he's been lit up in the minors by AAAA hitters like Chris Shelton, etc. I think 9-6 with a sub 5.00 ERA is far more realistic. He'll give them a chance to be in most games with an offense as potent as it is on paper, but I don't think he'll be a true difference maker.

    In my opinion, they'd be smarter to save the cash, and put a couple of the younger kids at the back of the rotation to give them experience for next year. They picked up a good prospect in the Sheffield deal with Detroit that wouldn't be really rushed in seeing some time in the 5th starter spot. Either way, they aren't catching Boston without some sort of major curse-esque meltdown.

  • The Memorial is this weekend, and having a fairly significant golfing event in town always reminds me of how quietly but devotedly this sport is followed. It is all over the airwaves on the weekends, but unless Tiger or Michelle Wie is making headlines, viewership is at best so-so.

    I think in that way golf suffers from the same issues as hockey. Even with the advent of HDTV, watching golf or hockey at home isn't the same as being there. I was fortunate enough to attend a round at the US Senior Open a couple of summers ago. Walking the course while some of the names that defined golf in the 50's through the 80's played was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The feel of the grass under foot, the sounds of the course and the roar of the crowd as Nicklaus rolled in a birdie putt is something that simply cannot be replicated on TV.

    While the predominant issue with hockey on TV is following the play and seeing the flow of the action, the issue is basically the same. The game simply doesn't translate as well to the television as other sports.

  • Color me unimpressed, but NFL quarterback Michael Vick is being discussed in the same sentence with dog fighting charges. This might seem jaded, but really, considering his string of poor choices dating back to the "Ron Mexico" incident, how is anyone surprised by this? Frankly, I'm amazed it wasn't something worse like human trafficking or conflict diamonds.

    Of the hundreds of players that make up the NFL each year, most are good natured, clean living folks who make a life playing a game they love. But there seems to be a growing minority that works to outdo one another in the type of trouble they can improve their "street cred" with. Appearantly Rae Carruth and Pac-Man Jones are not big enough examples of what can happen when you let living the life of a superstar overtake actually being a superstar. The league is going to have to crack down even harder if a player with the name recognition of Vick can have his involvement in such a deplorable "sport" as dog fighting go undetected for so long.

    While some complain about the unfairness of NFL eligibility rules, it's clear that even the existing rules aren't working in terms of bringing mature adult males into the league. It's time for the creation of an NFL development league, including contracts that stipulate strong punishments for any off field incidents. Newly drafted talents would play at least 2 or 3 years in this league before qualifying for NFL service. While this certainly wouldn't completely eradicate the league of off-the-field issues, it would take many of them out of the limelight, where in some ways the behavior of these players is perversely glorified.

  • Lastly, The Pistons and Cavs are tied at two in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, and I really couldn't care less. Lebron James is an intriguing sports personality that seems to be coming of age in this series, but this is still a sport that is about individuals and not the team, and until the NBA does something to change that, they're not going to get viewers like me to tune in.

Getting started

I've just started this blog, and turning 33 this weekend, one of the things I promised myself is that I would write more, and write regularly. A weekly blog update seems like a good way to do that.

I'm primarily a hockey and baseball fan, so those are the topics you'll see most here, but also some football and maybe some basketball from time to time.

I'm located in Central Ohio, so if you're a fan of The Columbus Blue Jackets, this blog is for you. I grew up in Michigan, so while I am not a Red Wings fan, I am still a huge Detroit Tigers fan, so expect some stuff about them as well.

I won't limit my blog to those teams or even those sports, and may go completely away from sports from time to time, but that should give you a pretty good beginning to what I've got planned.