Blue Jackets Hire Ian Clark as Goaltending Coach

Well, it appears that the first domino in re-staffing the Blue Jackets' coaching crew has fallen. The Dispatch's Aaron Portzline is reporting via Twitter that the CBJ have hired Ian Clark to fill the position. The team has also posted a news release.

Clark comes from the Vancouver Canucks organization, where he was a goaltending consultant from the 2002-2003 season through last summer when he was let go.

Clark has also worked with Team Canada’s World Juniors team from 2003-2006, during which time the team won two silvers ('03, '04) and two golds ('05, '06). Prior to joining the Canucks' organization in 2002, he worked in the same capacity with the Florida Panthers. Clark is the founder and President of the Goaltender Development Institute. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of From the Crease from 1998-2003 and The Goalie News from 2003-2008.

"We are very pleased to welcome Ian to our coaching staff," said Blue Jackets Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson. "He has a tremendous amount of experience working with NHL goaltenders and helping them improve their level of play. We look forward to him working with all of our goaltenders and strengthening that position throughout our organization."

"Having worked with Ian in the past, I believe his work ethic, knowledge of the goaltending position and the way he communicates with players will make him an excellent addition to our staff," said Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel. "He has worked with a number of very successful NHL goaltenders and will be a great resource for our players at this very important position."

Obviously, this hire brings some credibility to the position for Columbus, given some of the people Clark has worked with. It also opens the door to some speculation about possibly trading for Vancouver's Cory Schneider, which has been rumored here and there during the off-season.

The only oddity to this hire is that Porty also noted on Twitter that: "Clark...was fired last summer because Canucks wanted full-time coach." I don't mean to pose the obvious question, but, isn't that why Dave Rook was technically forced out this year? Does this mean Clark will put all of his other duties on hold and be a full-time coach for the CBJ, or will they again be working with their goaltending coach on a part-time basis?

This, to me, is the biggest issue with this hire. There's no doubting Clark's credentials and qualifications. But, if he's going to leave the goalies in the same position they've been in for the last three seasons--without a coach in-house for chunks of the season--this hire would be a two-steps-forward-one-step-back hire in my book.

UPDATE - Porty is Tweeting that Clark WILL be a full-time coach for the CBJ this year. Phew.

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