For Brassard, leaving may be his only option
Sooner or later, probably later, the Blue Jackets will trade Derick Brassard. He will be moved for two reasons:
His career has stalled, and his agent, Allan Walsh, has made a trade all but inevitable.
Walsh last week issued a statement to Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline. It went like this:
While I have tremendous respect for (general manager) Scott Howson and the rest of Columbus’ management team, the situation regarding Derick Brassard has become untenable. The coach has a history of burying players and using them as scapegoats to mask his own lack of success on the ice. Derick has been singled out, almost since the very beginning of the season, to be the fall guy in case things don’t go well. The Columbus organization cares about Derick and has been good to him, but at some point, one has to say, enough is enough.
Walsh has used public criticism before, as Jackets assistant Todd Richards well knows. Walsh railed at the way two of his clients, Petr Sykora and Martin Havlat, were used when Richards was coach of the Minnesota Wild.
Sykora was passed through waivers and cast to free agency. Havlat was ultimately traded for Dany Heatley. Richards wound up fired.
Every agent intercedes on behalf of their clients. Walsh is just more demonstrative about it.
Is it true that Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel “has a history of burying players and using them as scapegoats to mask his own lack of success on the ice”?
It is not uncommon. When coaches lose, their roster stinks. As for specifics: Arniel was too eager to run Mike Commodore out of town, but Commodore was not exactly a boy scout. The sadness in that story is in the Jackets’ inability to make a trade and the need to eat Commodore’s contract.
Is it true that “Derick has been singled out, almost since the very beginning of the season, to be the fall guy in case things don’t work out”?
Who knows? Walsh’s job is to serve his client, and by making Brassard out to be Arniel’s scapegoat, the appearance is that Brassard needs a change of scenery, and more ice time, to be productive. Maybe that is the case. Maybe it is not.
Walsh said yesterday that he will have no further comment.
Howson said, “We’re all working through it, all trying to find the right situation here so Derick can become a better player and help the team win. I don’t think (Walsh’s statement) has had any benefit at all to helping the situation.”
Arniel said he is playing the people he thinks he needs to win.
Brassard has been a healthy scratch in eight of the past 12 games. The Jackets are 6-4-2 in that span, which isn’t exactly hot — but given that they won just two of their first 15 games, it feels like magma.