There are significant questions to be answered as the season continues to the conclusion of a disappointing campaign. The decisions will be addressed accordingly in a timely manner by ownership group, President Mike Priest and the hockey operations department led by Scott Howson. These issues are already in motion. All that one can do at this time is to sit back and reflect.
Who will be the coach for next year? Claude Noel, surprisingly informed the media that if he is not hired he will not return. He wants to be a head coach and at the age of 54 he feels he would like to continue to be his own boss when it comes to running the on ice operation. One comment on his behalf after the Nashville 1-0 overtime loss, the players play for Claude... let it be said the players are playing for him. Further evaluation will take place as the rest of the season presents itself... critical games include two with Chicago and three games with Detroit. Good luck to Claude and the staff as they all have put their best step forward.
What about the future of assistants Gary Agnew, Gord Murphy? They have been with the organization since the seedling days and have been true blue to the team. Would they qualify and/or be possible head coaching candidates in Columbus? If not, do they or should they or would they remain with the organization in the future? Would that be in Columbus or even with the American League affiliate?
With the core of the group returning to Columbus next year (since all of the current UFA's Modin, Torres and Jurcina were moved at the trade deadline) how does the hockey opts department fill the more than necessary holes in the center and the defensive positions? How do they orchestrate such effective moves? Could such action relate to trading some of the current commodities? Do they dangle some of the young players in making such deals? These are questions that will be answered.
What about the free agent market? There will be a plethora of aged/experienced players available. There will be some quality stars that will attract some big dollars. Will they be sprinkled in the mix as potential CBJ's? What direction does management take this year? How do they handle the spending if the trade route does not give some resolve?
What about the Syracuse affiliation in the AHL? Will it stay status quo? It has currently been reported that the new home could be settled in Springfield, Mass. of the AHL. Is there a chance to relocate closer to the city of Columbus for the convenience of necessary call ups? What about the Syracuse staffing of head coach Ross Yates and assistant Trent Cull? Will they return as part of the development of the young players?
The next few months will be interesting. It could be a time to witness some remolding in the face of the CBJ organization. Stay tuned!!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac's Blog," "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.