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Category: Columbus-Blue-Jackets

Goaltenders Galore In Columbus

from Steven Ellis of The Hockey News,

Replacing your No. 1 goaltender is never easy. It’s even more difficult when said No. 1 netminder is Sergei Bobrovsky, the best the Columbus Blue Jackets have ever had....

For now, Joonas Korpisalo, one of the five European netminders the Blue Jackets have under contract, is slated to lead the team in net, but he’s on a one-year, show-me deal and consistency has been an issue in his career. Is he the long-term solution? His career path says no, though he’s never had a better opportunity. But if Korpisalo isn’t the answer, who is? Columbus may need look no further than Elvis Merzlikins and Veini Vehvilainen, who helped the Blue Jackets to a third-place finish at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. Vehvilainen, 22, won both starts, while Merzlikins, 25, went 1-1-0, giving his team a fighting chance in both contests despite a rather unspectacular .889 save percentage.

Before either can unseat Korpisalo, though, there are adjustments to be made. The first? The smaller North American ice. Merzlikins had just a handful of practice runs prior to Columbus’ playoff run in the spring to adapt, while Vehvilainen’s lone experience on an NHL-sized rink came at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Montreal, an event at which he struggled.

read on

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A Three-Year Deal For Zach Werenski In Columbus

via the Columbus Blue Jackets,

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed restricted free agent defenseman Zach Werenski to a three-year, $15 million contract through the 2021-22 season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. 

Werenski, 22, is a former Calder Memorial Trophy finalist, NHL All-Rookie Team selection and 2018 NHL All-Star who has registered 38 goals and 90 assists for 128 points with 48 penalty minutes and a +13 plus/minus rating in 237 career games over the course of his first three NHL seasons. His 38 goals rank ninth and his 128 points are tied for 21st among all NHL defensemen since 2016. He also has added 3-7-10, 11 penalty minutes and is +1 in 19 career games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

"Zach Werenski is one of the best young defensemen in the National Hockey League and we couldn't be happier that he will continue to be a foundational player for the Columbus Blue Jackets," said Kekalainen. "He is a gifted offensive player that has continued to improve in all facets of the game and will be an elite player for many years."

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zach+werenski

Morning Line- John Tortorella

The most important part of our entry into this camp and into this season is how we carry ourselves. Do we have the right strut that we had during the playoffs, that little bit of “*#$%@& you!” Nobody even talked about us. When you lose good players, a number of them, do you lose that arrogance? I think as we enter the season here we need to have the right amount of strut, but also a sense of camaraderie, and a chip on our shoulders as the guys who want to be here.

-John Tortorella, head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Much more (paid subscription) from Tortorella in a Q & A with Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tortorella

All Jarmo Kekalainen

from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

ESPN: With the benefit of hindsight, do you have any regrets in going for it like you did at the trade deadline?

Jarmo Kekalainen: Not at all. It was a decision that we made as an organization, from the ownership all the way down to the management. Let's have this group together, for the last time, and let's see what we can do. It was a calculated risk. It had a price that we felt we could endure with the depth of our prospects. We beat Tampa Bay, one of the all-time best teams in the regular season. We gave Boston a hell of a run. It was a close series. The better team wins the series, and we lost, but we were right there with them. I think we showed everybody that we did have a chance to go all the way and win the Cup. That was our goal.

We weighed the risks. It wasn't just us swinging [at] something because we felt it at the time. We talked about it. We weren't going to trade Panarin and Bobrovsky for just picks and prospects. Now, if someone came along and gave us a package that was just too good to pass up, we might have made a different decision. But it wasn't there. So we decided to go all-in. There are no regrets.

ESPN: Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins have potential. But is this a situation where you're looking at a certain time period for this to work out before you explore other options? Was there any thought in doing that before the season?

Kekalainen: We're going to have an open mind. We're going to give the guys a proper chance to show that they belong. They're going to have that opportunity and we're not going to be in any rush. We're going to be patient....

more on the 2nd question above plus more Q & A...

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  Tags: jarmo+kekalainen

Video- Season Preview For The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Craig Merz at NHL.com,

The Columbus Blue Jackets remain optimistic that they can make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight season despite losing several key players as free agents.

"The core we have in the room, I think there's something special, not just the leaders but the young guys, the way they're developing to be great players," defenseman Seth Jones said.

The Blue Jackets are one of seven NHL teams to qualify for the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, including advancing to the second round for the first time in their history last season by sweeping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round. The Blue Jackets were defeated by the Boston Bruins in six games in the second round.

continued

Below, watch the season preview on the Blue Jackets...

Continue Reading »

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Videos- Top Plays From Artemi Panarin From Last Season

2:45 to watch.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: artemi+panarin

The Ever Changing Game

from Jeff Svoboda of BlueJackets.com,

This week, BlueJackets.com is taking a look at a few ways in which the game of hockey is changing right before our eyes. From a game that's getting faster by the second to one increasingly impacted by analytics off the ice, the NHL and the Blue Jackets are in the midst of an age of rapid transition. This week's stories will take a look at those trends across the league and how the Blue Jackets are staying at the forefront of all that is going on. 

Josh Anderson is one of the fastest players in the NHL, possessing a speed burst that can make the big winger appear like a freight train trucking over the ice.

And yet, when asked in May how he wants to improve upon his game this summer, the Blue Jackets winger had a quick answer. 

"Skating," he said. "I think you can get faster. You see how fast the game is now today."

For Markus Nutivaara, a puck-moving defenseman with the ability to glide across the ice with the best of them, the answer was the same. 

"Work on my skating," he said. "The game is going so fast. I want to get faster and strong legs, be a good and fast skater."

They're certainly not wrong. What was once billed as the coolest game on earth now might very well be the fastest.

continued

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Afternoon Line- Gustav Nyquist

"I think looking at the team, we're in a great spot. A lot of the core players are younger in age, and that's what teams are looking for now, and we've got some great leadership, veteran leadership, on the team, so I think it's a great mix.

"Those guys leaving, a lot of media will talk about that. But I see it as a good opportunity for me personally coming in but also a lot of the guys that are on the team. It's going to give them a lot more opportunities. It's just going to help those younger guys take bigger roles."

"It's a new adventure, that's how we look at it. … It'll be fun to kind of get to know the place a little more. It's funny. I talked to a lot of people after signing there. Everyone says, 'Oh, that's a great city.' That's a good thing to hear. That feels good. I've had no one come tell me, 'Oh …' It's all positive things, so we're really excited."

-Gustav Nyquist of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com has more.

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  Tags: gustav+nyquist

Sergei Bobrovsky On Why He Left The Columbus Blue Jackets

from TSN,

Sergei Bobrovsky told Russia's Sport 24 that discord between him and Columbus Blue Jackets began after the team's first-round loss to the Washington Capitals in 2018 and he knew soon after that he would not sign an extension with the club.

There was no chance I'd sign an extension with (Columbus)," Bobrovsky said, per a translation by Sport-Express reporter Igor Eronko. "I felt I need another scenery. And it’s not just because of tensions with the (team)."...

"I was suspended by the team, there were some conflicts in the team, a lot of meetings and some of them just because of me," Bobrovsky explained to Sport 24. "I didn't feel comfortable. And still the Jackets tried and tried to extend me all season long."

The 30-year-old added that he believes he played his best hockey later in the season because the pressure of playing ahead of the trade deadline had worn off. He went 18-8 from the start of February and allowed just eight goals in the team's first-round sweep of the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning.

a bit more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sergei+bobrovsky

Time For The Youth To Lead In Columbus

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

"We were a young team last year," Werenski said. "We've been a young team all three years I've been in the League. For us to win against one of the best regular-season teams in the history of the NHL, to go out there and not only win but to sweep them and feel like we controlled that series … Obviously we've lost four big pieces of our lineup, but it's at that point now where us young guys, we've got to step up and fill those roles."

The Blue Jackets still have a core of talented players, including Josh Anderson, Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nick Foligno up front and Werenski, Seth Jones and Ryan Murray on the back end. Forward Gustav Nyquist, who went to the Western Conference Final with the San Jose Sharks last season, signed a four-year contract as an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I think [the UFAs' departures] had nothing to do with the city of Columbus or our fans or anything like that," said Werenski, a restricted free agent himself, whose agent is negotiating with the Blue Jackets. "I just think they were ready for a change, and that's their right. So, you can't be mad at them. But at the end of the day, these are guys who want to be here. We want to win. We're really excited for next season."

more

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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