I've got something of a (possibly) controversial set of inquiries that have been in my head for a while. It's a bit of a side-step from the NashWatch whatever (or the upcoming CBA depression) and it's something that I'd like to ask in two questions. I hope you'll consider both questions and not get too caught up in the potentially more decisive first one. And I also hope you'll indulge a bit of the logic behind the second question in the form of an opinion/observation.
The first question: if you're pro-Scott Howson (or at least don't find yourself disliking him) why do you feel that way? Do you think he has had a net positive impact on the Jackets? Even looking beyond comparisons to Doug MacLean, what makes Howson a good (or at least not bad) general manager in relation to the rest of the NHL?
The second question: if you're pro-Scott Howson (or at least don't find yourself disliking him) what is your reaction to material that characterizes the general manager as being bad at his job? Do you view such writing (by fans, bloggers or mainstream journalists) as being insulting to the entire Columbus organization, or do you see this as something directed at just the general manager?
As for that second line of questions, I ask it because I seem to notice a great deal of knee-jerk pro-Columbus sentiment from Jacket fans. That idea alone isn't the problem here (and it's obviously something to encourage), but it seems to be an almost blind following in relation to the general manager. When an article discusses Scott Howson as a failure (or some other negative term) Jacket fans sometimes react as if the writer has questioned the viability of Columbus as a hockey market, or have belittled the very existence of the team.
I will concede, this is at times the motivation for such writings, but it's not always. And perhaps my own biases are kicking in, but I don't really think it happens that often. There are trolls and naysayers that mock every NHL franchise, but it's a widely held outside view that Scott Howson just hasn't been that great at improving the Blue Jackets or building a team that can make the playoffs. And quite often that isn't a view that wants the Jackets moved or contracted, it's a view that wants to see hockey succeed in Columbus, a view that thinks the team would flourish under different management.
I'd like to hear what your thoughts are on this. Are negative reactions to negative Howson comments purely out of support for the general manager, or are they ones that run deeper and address supposed derogatory remarks about the Blue Jackets franchise as a whole?