On Boucher and Kaberle

As reported in the Columbus Dispatch, and then all of the internet, the Blue Jackets officially offered their head coaching job to Guy Boucher, who quickly accepted…er…still hasn’t decided whether to take it or not.

To me, this is shocking.

If he interviewed for the job, I would assume it would be because he wanted it, and he would accept as soon as it was offered. Like players, most coaches want a chance to perform on the biggest stage, at the highest level, the NHL.  The fact that Boucher was offered that chance and didn’t jump at it has me a bit concerned. The delay has to make you wonder if he was interviewing just to get experience, get his name out there, to try and get a raise from Montreal, or some other reason.

While I will be sad to see the always-entertaining Claude Noel leave, after he did such a great job stepping in after Hitch was fired, I am 100% behind Scott Howson’s attempt to find a young, up-and-coming coach to spark the Blue Jackets. It’s time for a younger voice to hopefully get the ear of the team. No question from everything I’ve read and that’s been reported, Boucher is a great up-and-coming coach who many experts believe has a bright future coaching in the NHL, so I would be excited to see him take the job with the CBJ.

While the Jackets were truly a debacle last season, I do think for the most part it is a good job. They aren’t in need of a complete rebuild, and have some solid pieces/talent in place. Rick Nash, Steve Mason (If he can regain his form, which I believe he can), Jake Voracek, Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard, Kristian Huselius….the Jackets are not devoid of talent. However, the franchise still cannot get past its major weakness’: the lack of a number on center and a poor defense. In fact, I would go as far as to call the Blue Jackets blueline the worst in the NHL.

I’ve mentioned these weakness’ before, and so has every writer who has ever written a word about the Blue Jackets. They are so glaring they cannot go another summer without being addressed.  I actually had written in this blog that I would love to see Tomas Kaberle wearing the Jackets sweater, just as a pipe dream, and was happy to see rumors floating around about this very prospect.

One issue that has always bothered me about the Jackets is the issue of youth. In reading on the Kaberle issue, his age (32) always comes up as a negative. I’m sorry – but not every player on your team needs to be (or should be) 26.

Defensemen often play well into their late 30′s, and if you look at many of the league’s top d-men, (Dan Boyle, Niklas Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara, Sergei Gonchar, Chris Pronger) they are all older than Kaberle and are the anchors of their team. The Jackets have two promising young defensemen in Kris Russel and prospect John Moore, and a ton of youth on the roster already, so I think trading their 1st rounder in a bid to get Kaberle (or another defensemen) isn’t an issue whatsover. I, along with other Jackets fans, are tired of hearing about draft picks and prospects that are supposed to make the team good one day and then never seeing the results. After 10 years, its time for the Jackets to spend some money, be bold, and try to make an upgrade.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jackets sign another proven defensive defenseman, like Braydon Coburn or Dan Hamhuis, but there is no doubt Kaberle would provide the offense and powerplay help that the Jackets desperately need. If he would agree to sign an extension after being traded, I think it would be a perfect move for the Jackets. And if I hear the argument “he’s 32 and would want an extension that would take him to age 37 or 38″ I will politely ask if Drew Doughty or Duncan Keith is on the trade block or if the Dan Boyle trade crippled the Sharks.

Hopefully, we have an answer on Boucher within the next day or two and some roster moves to talk about in the coming weeks.

Also, if you haven’t seen the CBJ’s awesome new anniversary logo, here it is:

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