it's been a while hasn't it? happy to be back.
I agree with you robbie. Hitch's job was in jeopardy the second Howson started shedding the vets that got them to the playoffs (Malhotra, Torres, Peca, Chimera, etc). Filatov, Voracek, Brule, Brassard, Zherdev, even Nash were all forced into roles quicker than they should have been. I think there's been a cycle with the Jackets history. Draft poorly, over pay FAs who get thrown into inappropriate roles as result of their salaries, lose, force prospects into inappropriate roles due to lack of production from said FAs, lose, fire the coach, lose/maybe moderate success, and the cycle repeats. It took Maclean how long to get fired? I hope Howson doesn't get the same leash length because Nash is going to demand a trade sooner rather than later and if that happens, kiss the fans (then the franchise) goodbye.
while I agree the job of NHL GM has to be incredibly tough, there are some that manage to keep their clubs competitive nearly every year, Ken Holland in DET, Dean Lombardi in LA, Doug Wilson in SJ, Dave Poile in NSH (even with budget restrictions), Peter Chiarelli in BOS, George Mcphee in WAS, Ray Shero in PIT, and to a lesser extent maybe Rutherford in CAR. It may be very hard to be good and consistent but it's not impossible. You may think that success with those guys are tied to big spending but consider the fact that CBJs had the 5th highest payroll to start the season. Dallas who has the lowest payroll is 7-3 currently. As they say, you can't make the playoffs in October but you can miss them.
Either way, I think the only GM who has done worse for a team in recent memory than the Maclean/Howson sadness tandem, is Don Waddell. You know you're the worst when you manage your team into the toilet and out of the city.
Oh and the jackets lost again tonight.