02/24/2024

STL:

1

DET:

6

Final

MTL:

3

NJD:

4

Final

TBL:

4

NYI:

2

Final

NYR:

2

PHI:

1

Final

WSH:

2

FLA:

3

Final

TOR:

4

COL:

3

Final

VGK:

3

OTT:

4

Final

BOS:

2

VAN:

3

Final

DAL:

2

CAR:

1

Final

CGY:

6

EDM:

3

Final

MIN:

5

SEA:

2

Final

NSH:

4

SJS:

2

Final

ANA:

2

LAK:

3

Final

02/25/2024

TBL:

4

NJD:

1

Final

PHI:

6

PIT:

7

Final

CAR:

2

BUF:

3

Final

NYR:

2

CBJ:

4

Final

DET:

3

CHI:

2

Final

ARI:

3

WPG:

4

Final

NSH:

4

ANA:

2

Final

02/26/2024

OTT:

3

WSH:

6

Final

NYI:

3

DAL:

2

Final

LAK:

2

EDM:

4

Final

BOS:

3

SEA:

4

Final

02/27/2024

WSH:

3

DET:

8

Final

BUF:

2

FLA:

3

Final

ARI:

2

MTL:

4

Final

TBL:

2

PHI:

6

Final

VGK:

6

TOR:

2

Final

CAR:

3

MIN:

2

Final

OTT:

1

NSH:

4

Final

STL:

2

WPG:

4

Final

LAK:

2

CGY:

4

Final

DAL:

1

COL:

5

Final

PIT:

4

VAN:

3

Final

NJD:

7

SJS:

2

Final

02/28/2024

CBJ:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

EDM:

0

08:30 ET

02/29/2024

VGK:

0

BOS:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

NYI:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

WPG:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

MIN:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

COL:

0

CHI:

0

09:00 ET

PIT:

0

SEA:

0

10:00 ET

LAK:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

ANA:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

03/01/2024

ARI:

0

OTT:

0

07:00 ET

PHI:

0

WSH:

0

07:00 ET

NJD:

0

ANA:

0

10:00 ET

OPINION: Mike Babcock Gone, Jarmo Kekalainen Must Follow

Photo by USA TODAY

EDITING NOTE:
The Columbus Blue Jackets organization has officially apologized for the handling of the Mike Babcock hiring. General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen has taken responsibility for the situation and apologized to both fans and players.

Even when it was rumored that the Columbus Blue Jackets were looking to hire Mike Babcock, it wasn’t well received by fans. They hired him anyway, and just over two and a half months later, Mike Babcock resigned as head coach of the Blue Jackets. Babcock didn’t even make it to training camp, and now you have to wonder what changed from the first investigation to the final investigation or what the NHL/NHLPA found that we don’t know. While it is not my place to speculate, I can say one thing for sure: I think it is time for Jarmo Kekalainen to follow Mike Babcock’s lead and resign as general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Kekalainen’s History of Bad Judgment & Why He Needs To Go

While the Blue Jackets have mentioned that they are not making any more changes to their leadership group, I think it’s in bad taste. This is a team that needs an overhaul in their management and leadership group, on and off the ice. Kekalainen hired and later fired John Tortorella; that hiring was so catastrophic that it caused the team to trade star center Pierre-Luc Dubois.

While the Tortorella hiring wasn’t as catastrophic as bringing in Mike Babcock, it had a ripple effect that should’ve put Kekalainen on the hot seat. This is a sick look for the Blue Jackets organization right now; Mike Babcock’s exit statement was far from being self-accountable. Babcock dusted his hands off and basically said he was disappointed he wasn’t able to continue with the team. Kekalainen publicly thanked Babcock for the effort he put into the franchise, which should put a really sour taste in the players’ mouths going forward. If I’m any of the young players on this team, I wouldn’t be wanting to play for this team. Let’s also not forget that playing and working in the NHL is a privilege, not a right. Mike Babcock abused that privilege and was called out by the Spittin’ Chiclets crew for it.

What did Kekalainen do? He created an investigation that probably didn’t include the young players they’ve brought in recently and called it a day. Boone Jenner’s statements are also concerning, but not as concerning as Kekalainen’s lack of awareness and accountability regarding his players. It’s a joke that Kekalainen was allowed to release a statement publicly thanking Mike Babcock for his hard work and professionalism. If Mike Babcock had any professionalism, he would still be employed by the Columbus Blue Jackets or any other team in the NHL.

Related: Mike Babcock Resigns as Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach

In bad taste, which is a running theme after this entire situation, nobody from the Blue Jackets’ leadership and management group has offered an apology regarding the mistreatment of players. This is an organization devoid of leadership, and the statements from Boone Jenner, Mike Babcock, and Jarmo Kekalainen each were devoid of leadership and severely lacked accountability.

While this situation has blown the doors wide open regarding bad judgment, we have to mention that the Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t done much under Kekalainen as general manager. The only bit of success that this team has seen was their miracle victory against the 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning. They also won a playoff qualifying round in 2020; after that, they’ve taken a significant nosedive in what they’ve done as a team. However, five Stanley Cup Playoff qualifications over ten seasons isn’t a terrible mark to boast about. Kekalainen has appeared in the playoffs four more times than those who were the general manager before him. He’s made a name for himself by finding solid draft picks, but he’s also blundered quite a few too. He’s given up a haul for certain players and received a haul for certain players. Kekalainen is not attempting to appease the loyal fanbase in Columbus, which is a shame.

We all know this move to hire Babcock was not popular from the moment it happened; the statements are abysmal attempts to save face. I don’t mean to pile on at this point, but what has Jarmo Kekalainen tangibly accomplished to get this long of a leash with the Columbus Blue Jackets? I’m just hardly scratching the surface here, but I think you know what I mean when it comes to this situation. There will be a feeling in the locker room when training camp opens that Kekalainen doesn’t have his players’ backs.

Final Thoughts

I don’t want to repeat myself or the facts that I have presented in this article. Everyone has taken their jabs and then a few extra on this situation. I also want to note that Elliotte Friedman mentioned on his 32 Thoughts podcast that the Blue Jackets owners are extremely hands-off with the team. One has to wonder if the owners are frowning upon this situation to at least expressing their concerns now. This situation has brought about a ton of negative PR for the team.

Kekalainen has got to be gone, I don’t see a single reason to not wipe the slate clean in Columbus. If his judgment can screw up a coaching hire as bad as this one, I would question his judgment for hockey decisions going forward. Most notably, any journalists with actual reporting integrity who start bringing major attention to this have backed you into a corner. These journalists, most notably Frank Seravalli, ripped apart the general manager with an inconsistent track record. This also brings to our attention that the NHL/NHL Players Association was armed to the teeth with evidence that forced Mike Babcock’s departure in Columbus. Babcock allegedly intimidated and bullied young players and was thanked by the general manager for his service, which shows that Mike Babcock was supported to the end, not the players. If written words can elicit a smell, the Blue Jackets’ statement on Sunday reeked of defiance. If Jarmo Kekalainen can take a page out of Babcock’s playbook. He must take Babcock’s lead and resign from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

212. Bye Bye Bemmer CBJectively Speaking

Emil Bemstrom has been traded and Laura is devastated about it! In sincerity, on this episode, we break down the trade, the most recent CBJ games, the CONFIRMED Stadium Series matchup against the Detroit Red Wings on March 1, 2025, and so much more!Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Thread, and Twitter: @CBJectivelyPodCheck us out on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube: CBJectively SpeakingRate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen!Check out our website: www.cbjectivelyspeaking.comCheck out our merchandise: www.cbjectivelymerch.comJeremy's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/jpaul/Laura's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/lnorman/
  1. 212. Bye Bye Bemmer
  2. 211. Slow News Week?
  3. 210. CBJU: Midterm Grades
  4. BONUS: Hockey is for Everyone Special
  5. 208. What's Going On?

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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