It’s amazing the type of change that can occur for an organization over the span of just a couple of months. Look no further than the Columbus Blue Jackets for an example of that.
The Blue Jackets haven’t turned into a super power of any sort yet, but dismissing Scott Howson has turned out to be, quite possibly, the best move this franchise has ever made.
Columbus hired Jarmo Kekäläinen after dismissing Howson, who made a series of disastrous moves for this franchise. He left them as one of the biggest laughingstocks in all of professional sports. But since Kekäläinen took over, we’ve seen the organization improve a great deal.
He didn’t do much, prior to the trade deadline, but the team was playing very solid hockey. Whether or not that has anything to do with Howson being out of the picture remains to be seen. Wednesday’s trade deadline saw this team grow closer to finding a real identity.
The Blue Jackets acquired Marian Gaborik minutes before the deadline, along with Blake Comeau and Michael Leighton. Obviously one of those acquisitions is much more significant than the other two. Bringing in Gaborik gave this team the star power that they were lacking after trading Rick Nash. And it’s something that could put them over the top in their quest for a playoff spot.
All of a sudden, the Blue Jackets’ recent run that has them in position to grab a playoff spot out of the Western Conference went from something that could be considered “cute” to something that should probably be taken seriously.
Kekäläinen has this team going in the right direction. They may not make a real run this year, or even make it into the playoffs, but this is a team that is headed in the right direction moving forward.