The rumors that season ticket sales were headed down the tubes must be coming true. In an act of desperation, the Jackets are sending Coach Hitchcock to the wolves in a series of "Town Meetings".
Here's the excerpt from the invitation letter:
You and your guest are exclusively invited to attend a special "Town Meeting" where you will have the opportunity to directly interact with Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. Learn how the NHL's winningest coach since 1997 plans to build the Columbus Blue Jackets and ask your questions directly to the Coach.It's unclear what Hitch plans to say at these meetings. After all, what could he say that we haven't heard already or don't already know? Up to the moment, the CBJ squad consists of the same 73 point team they had a month ago. All that has changed has been the removal of MacLean from the GM spot. That simple fact may be enough for some, however.
These events will be held in the Founders Club on Nationwide Arena Suite Level on the following dates:
Monday, April 30
Wednesday, May 2
Thursday, May 3
Monday, May 7
The "Town Meetings" will begin at 7 p.m. with a brief cocktail reception followed by a program and Q&A session with Coach Hitchcock starting at approximately 7:45 p.m. You may park in the attached garage and enter Nationwide Arena via the Club Level entrance at the top of the garage (level G3).
While this is a clever strategy that treats PSL holders as "insiders" who get to see the Founders Club and meet Hitch in person, this tactic might be better saved for (or used again) this summer when the Blue Jackets have some material to show to fans. A new GM, a hot draft pick, and a free agent pickup or two will sell far more seats than some free booze and speech from a coach who has only been in town for half a season.
If you go, try to ask a question or two that's going to get a straight answer out of Hitch. Odds are that most of his responses are going to be the generalized fluff that all athletic organizations use. I'm sure he'll say that "the team is going to work hard next year, finish their checks, and develop scoring opportunities." We've heard all that before, and frankly, that's exactly what any hockey team should be doing at any level all the time. That's nothing we don't already know. I'd like to get some commitment from Hitch that the team will lose some dead weight and make some moves for some free agents in the offseason. Lastly, I'd like to hear him personally say that he is in charge of hiring the new general manager. If we, the fans, are to subscribe to Hitch's vision, and the team is to adhere to his 'system', then we need a GM that's on the same page and is willing to give Hitch the reigns on the team.
(Thanks to Brandon for the heads up on this one)