Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Shawn Mitchell of Puck-Rakers,
A day away from the rink gave Jackets coach John Tortorella plenty of time to “chew” (his word) on a 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay on Friday, and to contemplate what he called a glaring leadership void that plague’s the NHL’s 30th-place team.
Tortorella did not mince words when he met with the media this afternoon.
“We implode,” Tortorella said of a second period on Friday in which the Jackets turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit. “Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s embarrassing, and that’s what we are. I’m not going to tiptoe around here. That’s how we play right now and I think I’m going to need to depend on the kids to get us out of this because I’m not getting squat from the top players as far as that stuff.”
The “stuff” would include a pair of odd-man rushes by the Lightning immediately following a goal by Scott Hartnell that gave the Jackets a 2-1 lead followed by three consecutive minor penalties in a span of three seconds.
Hartnell received five for charging and a game misconduct.
added 8:43pm, Another angel of the hit below...
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
At 7:03 of the second, Jenner and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin made partial contact with their legs as they crossed paths high in the Blue Jackets’ zone. Jenner kept his feet, but Malkin hit the ice and writhed in pain, his head wrenched back and his arms clutching his left knee in agony. A dust-up ensued.
Replays showed Jenner did not extend his left knee to catch Malkin. To the contrary, he turned slightly to his right and appeared to stick out his left shoulder in anticipation of a hit that never came. Their legs brushed as they passed, with the side of Jenner's left leg brushing the lower part of Malkin's left leg.
A few seconds later, Malkin was up and skating under his own power. He returned to take a dramatic test-drive near the end of a TV timeout amid cheers of "Geno!" He finished the game, and was the best player on the ice.
Tortorella was incredulous when a Pittsburgh reporter asked him post-game if he anticipated any further discipline for Jenner from the NHL.
“(Malkin) got up, didn’t he?” Tortorella said. “It’s like he was dead, and then he was out the next shift.”
Tortorella stopped short of saying Malkin was faking it. Asked if he was surprised that Malkin, given his initial response, was able to return to the game and dominate, Jenner said: "I don't think (the hit) was too hard."
more on the 5-2 Columbus loss to Pittsburgh...
Watch the hit Jenner hit on Malkin below...
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
One of two things will happen:
Johansen will get in shape, find his game and he will be traded.
Or Johansen will get in shape, find his game and he won’t be traded.
Either way, it will take time. It should.
The Jackets are bottom feeders in the NHL. They are more likely to win the right to draft Auston Matthews than they are to make the playoffs, and they never win the draft lottery.
Johansen has skated in slush at critical moments in recent games. It has been “alleged,” by TSN’s Darren Dreger, that Johansen flirted with insubordination during a TV timeout in Dallas. Hence the benching and the scratching.
There is a whiff of controversy in the air and the vultures are circling, but the Jackets cannot, and they should not, trade Johansen anytime soon. I do not think they should trade him, period.
Those who say Johansen is another Joe Thornton — and “you can’t win with a guy like that” — are addled. Remember what the Boston Bruins got for Thornton? They got Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Portzline: You have so many good, established players on this roster. Why isn’t this a better team?
Davidson: It’s a really hard one to figure out. There were high expectations from everybody, probably you, too. Everybody agrees that we’re better than what we’re showing, totally. I’m there, too. I didn’t say we were going to win the Stanley Cup, but I said we’d be better. We still might be. But our best players, our core players, have not been good enough. Our core players have not played well enough, together, night after night for us to win. We continue to assess it, find out why and work our way through it.
Portzline: The brick-by-brick metaphor has stuck with you since Day 1. Are you still building? Or are you at the point now where you have to take bricks out of the wall because it hasn’t been built correctly?
Davidson: Both, probably. Both. You never going into thinking you won’t remove a brick to make the team better. As much as you want it to be, it’s never a straight line. Every day we’re looking at that....
“They had the salary dispute last year, and I really thought they worked hard to put it behind them. This is what Tortorella does. He takes his best players and he challenges them. They’ve questioned [Johansen's] will, his determination to put in the work that he needs to do to reach that level of talent. And I think what this has done is shown as an organization they don’t believe he’s anywhere close to being where he needs to be.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think they trust him. And that’s why I think they’re going to trade him."
-Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet on Ryan Johansen. More from Friedman by Scott Lewis of Sportsnet.
from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,
Which teams are ideal fits for Johansen based on what they need and what they can offer the Jackets? Consider these five destinations:...
1. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have the perfect combination of (a) being a bubble team in need of a boost to make the playoffs; (b) possessing some young-ish centers who could head to Columbus in a Johansen swap and (c) loaded with blueline prospects, one of which they could easily spare.
Let’s boot up the fantasy trade machine. Say Philadelphia wants Johansen but wouldn’t dare part with Sean Couturier up front or blue-chip D-men Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere. How about center Brayden Schenn, a 24-year-old pending RFA who still has some upside, plus Travis Sanheim or Samuel Morin? It would be the steep price any Johansen swap would be expected to command. And it would improve both teams’ outlooks. The Jackets could one day ice a top unit of Brandon Saad, Brayden Schenn and Nick Foligno, anchored by up-and-coming blueliners Sanheim and Zach Werenski for years to come. The Flyers would suddenly have one of the league’s best center tandems in Johansen and Giroux.
Tortorella on Johansen: "He's an important guy to our organization. This is a reset for him, in understanding what we're looking ... "
"... for, not just in the points but in the play. You can't look at it as a punishment; it's part of the process for him."
Tortorella said Johansen will be shown video to illustrate what #CBJ are looking for in his play.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
Don't think I've ever seen this before, but these Blue Jackets are nothing if not original in the depths they can mine with their chronic losing.
The Blue Jackets dressing room remained closed for at least 12-15 minutes after the game because the players had called a meeting after their latest loss, a 5-1 shellacking by the Dallas Stars on Tuesday in American Airlines Center.
"The time is now," Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. "There’s enough talking, enough of everything. It’s about results. This is a results driven business and we have to find a way. Every individual in here has to dig a little deeper and make sure we’re doing everything necessary to pull ourselves out of this."...
Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen played a lethargic first two periods. Many of his passes were way off-line, and there were several neutral-zone turnovers and failed clearing attempts. I've seen suburbanites skate harder on the Columbus Zoo's holiday pond.
No surprise, then, that Johansen was benched for the third period, playing a season-low 11:03.
"Coach's decision," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. He declined to elaborate.
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.
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