It happened during the Boston Bruins – New York Rangers game on Tuesday night. Rick Nash had just made an assist to Carl Hagelin halfway through the first period when word first trickled onto Twitter that Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson had been fired. Nash, whom Howson had traded last summer, had seemingly brought about the firing with one pass to his teammate.
We know that’s not true, but it’s an ironic coda to Howson’s tenure in Columbus. Everyone outside of the Blue Jackets fanbase and organization saw the drama of Nash’s trade being dragged out and they pointed fingers at Howson for his almost diva-like demands for the trade. Yes, Nash proved to be as valuable as Howson made him out to be, but no one could’ve foreseen his success once he was free of the Blue Jackets.
Let’s face it, Howson had been a liability to the organization since he walked into the office in 2007. The team’s been to the playoffs only once and they were swept out of the first round. Since then, he’s amassed a 173-190-59 record, wasted draft talent and made some terrible trades. Remember the Jakub Voracek trade? That worked out well for the Philadelphia Flyers, but Jeff Carter spent a miserable five months with the Blue Jackets before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings. And Jack Johnson, for whom Carter was traded, isn’t doing as well as everyone would expect. As for the draft picks, I shudder to think what would’ve happened to Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray at next season’s training camp had Howson stayed.
I know that Jarmo Kekalainen will bring a fresh perspective to the organization and will work with John Davidson on bringing his vision for the team to life. Howson had the best of intentions for the Blue Jackets, but what he did just wrecked them. His departure was something that was badly needed and it couldn’t have come at a better time.