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Category: Columbus-Blue-Jackets

High Profile Coaches Meet Tonight

from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,

There was a time when big-personality NHL coaches walked the Earth and stomped the narrow confines behind team benches.

Pat Burns, on heated occasions, would jump atop the bench to holler at referees or gesticulate menacingly at his opposing number. Or Red Kelly, as well-mannered as they come, deployed pyramid power — placing five plastic pyramids beneath the Maple Leaf bench during the 1976 playoffs against Philadelphia — to blunt their Kate Smith anthem talisman. Can you imagine such colourful silliness and shenanigans today?

What a sober lot the NHL has become.

These are robotic and dim wattage days, depleted of characters on and off the ice. Perhaps because so much of the game has devolved to analytics doffins, hockey sadly following in the footsteps of baseball, worshipping at the altar of arcane eye-glazing metrics, video up the wazoo.

A pair of relics, however, will go cerebrally and charismatically mano a mano on Monday evening at Scotiabank Arena: Mike Babcock versus John Tortorella.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Sonny Milano With The Goal Of The Night



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  Tags: sonny+milano

Trust In Manny Legace

from Jeff Svoboda of BlueJackets.com,

As his summer was slipping away, Elvis Merzlikins could have continued to spend August at his home in Lugano, Switzerland, with picturesque Lake Lugano on one side and the rugged, beautiful Alps on the other.

Or he could have flown to Detroit, a fine Midwestern city in its own right but not exactly overflowing with lakefront palm trees or mountain vistas....

...Merzlikins and Legace were doing a similar form of friendship building on the human side. Trust is perhaps the hardest earned but most important quality in Merzlikins' life, and the goaltender admitted when he first met Legace, it simply wasn't there.

After the time in Detroit over the late summer, it was a totally different feel. 

"I started to trust him the last two weeks at his home when I was there," Merzlikins said when he arrived in Columbus this fall. "Now I'm trusting him 100 percent. He's one of my best friends here that I have. I think it's important to build a relationship because this person knows when to push you and when to leave you alone and maybe give you a rest. 

"I think this is really important. I had this kind of relationship with my ex-goalie coaches, and it worked really well so I'm happy."


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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."

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  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.

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  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...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  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.


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

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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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