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Blue Jackets hire Scott Arniel as head coach; Boucher says no

On Sunday at the Memorial Tournament, several members of the Columbus media were sitting around eating and the topic of Blue Jackets hockey came up because Guy Boucher’s name surfaced as the number 1 choice. Most of us we shocked in a way that why would a candidate who is a minor league hockey coach like Boucher want to wait to decide whether to accept or not. The general concensus was he was going to say no. That was my personal thoughts because no one would pass up a chance to coach in the NHL when opportunities are few and far between.

Scott Arniel (Manitoba Moose photo)

So when I woke up this morning and saw my email that Scott Arniel was taking the job, I was not surprised. I liked him from the start as well as Kevin Dineen. I also liked Claude Noel, but all of us in the media felt he had no chance or they would’ve given him the job at the end of the season instead of making him wait 2 months to make a decision. Now he is gone because he said all along, he would not come back as an assistant after being the interim coach. You can’t blame him.

Good Luck to Claude Noel!  He’s a good man and solid coach and I personally thank him for all the interviews and time he gave to me and the rest of the media that follow the team on a regular basis.

Now to Scott Arniel, the former coach of the Manitoba Moose.

It has been reported that Scott Arniel was the Blue Jackets second choice as head coach. It doesn’t matter because sometimes number 2 just might be a better choice or a better coach. This past season, Joe Sacco was the number 2 choice of the Colorado Avalanche and he took one of the worst NHL teams and turned them into a Stanley Cup contender as they lost in the second round to Detroit just a few weeks ago.

The Blue Jackets are hoping that the 47-year-old Arniel can do the same. He accepted the job on Monday just hours after Guy Boucher rejected the team’s offer.

If everybody remembers, Scott Howsom was a second choice himself, taking the Jackets position after current Anaheim general manager Bob Murray turned down Columbus’ offer in the summer of 2007.

Former Blue Jackets TV broadcaster Danny Gare is very familiar with Scott Arniel from their playing days in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres. Arniel, who played forward, also served as a Sabres assistant coach from 2002-2006.

Gare says that Arniel will gain instant respect in the Blue Jackets locker room because he did play 730 games in the National Hockey League with Winnipeg, Buffalo and Boston.

Arniel will be introduced to the media at a press conference Tuesday June 8 at 3 pm.

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