Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
The big news of the sleepy summer of 2010 is the Anton Stralman arbitration hearing. Yowza.
“There’s not much going on,” Howson said yesterday. “We’re going to get through this Stralman arbitration, get that settled and see where we are. We’ve had a few conversations with teams (about trades), but there’s nothing imminent. But the market is pretty dry, and pretty slow.”
It is true that the market has slowed considerably over the past three weeks. What is more, from a local perspective, there isn’t much the Jackets are willing to do right now. They have about $50 million tied up in the current roster. The salary cap for next season is $59.4 million. The Jackets are a “budget” team; they spend to a budget, not the cap. If they are to do anything, it will be a trade that fits their budget.
Indirectly, that injects some interest into the Stralman arbitration. The hearing is set for Wednesday morning. Speculation is that the sides are about $1 million apart in annual salary. The Jackets have elected to offer a one-year deal, which means they will have the option to walk away if they are not satisfied with the arbitration ruling.
Jill R. Dorson of ESPN Page 2 takes a look at the different license plates that are offered by states…
OHIO: Appears to be the only state with a plate for its Major League Soccer team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. All other pro teams are available, too, and all feature a team logo.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Many believe that after a nearly two-week lull in free agency, a mild flurry of moves is set to follow, that the next wave of GMs getting their rosters settled in advance of 2010-11 is about to take place. And if you’re a GM needing one defenseman—much less two—the temperature has just been increased.
Don’t be surprised if Howson begins taking a different tack this week. Here-to-fore he was content to let the summer play out, to let Vancouver GM Mike Gillis, Toronto GM Brian Burke and possibly others weigh their options for the players they’re peddling. In Vancouver’s case that’s Kevin Bieksa, and in Toronto’s case it’s Tomas Kaberle.
Howson is a patient man, but not when duty calls. Though he’s not making annual blockbuster trades or monster free agent signings—as some would like—he has never been guilty of letting the virtue of patience turn into a vice. Howson is not the type to get caught with his well-pressed pants down, yet he has to know he’s running that risk here.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
Most NHL scoreboard operators implore fans to “Make Some Noise.”
Nationwide Arena might consider flashing the same message inside the home locker room.
In a sport bubbling with testosterone, the Blue Jackets have had one of the NHL’s quietest rooms in recent seasons. It has led some to wonder whether the dearth of strong personalities has contributed to a lack of on-ice success.
New coach Scott Arniel vowed that there will be some “giddyup” when the club returns from the offseason.
Blue Jackets brass hopes the addition of former Edmonton Oilers captain Ethan Moreau and four new coaches can elevate the intensity level and make the franchise’s legacy of losing less tolerable to players.
from Encarnacion Pyle of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets president believes that the casino taxes that will flow to Columbus and Franklin County would be the best fix for the hockey team’s financial woes.
“I think it is the most viable solution, and it wouldn’t require any other money being used,” Mike Priest said today. “But it’s up to the public sector to decide how it wants to use that money.”
Business, government and team officials have been meeting for more than a year to come up with a way to stem the Blue Jackets’ bleeding. The club is losing an estimated $12 million a year in operations.
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
Craig Custance: What’s your biggest challenge in taking over as coach of the Blue Jackets?
Scott Arniel: The biggest thing is we have to change the mindset here. We’ve got to learn how to win. You can only be a young team for so long. Now it’s a case of where the younger group has to start to mature and get better. We’ve seen it in the past with a team like L.A. They took a big step last year. Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington—it’s a case of young guys stepping up.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
—The Blue Jackets met with season-ticket holders last night and they’ll do the same tonight. President Mike Priest, general manager Scott Howson and others fielded questions from the masses, many of whom have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the Blue Jackets dating back to day one. Priest confirmed to The Dispatch this morning that the club has sold 7,000 full-season ticket equivalents. They ended last season with 10,274 FSEs. Two 20-game packs equals an FSE, in case you’re wondering.
—News flash: Attendance will be way down this season, especially early.
continue for more on Columbus…
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed right wing Jared Boll to a two-year contract General Manager Scott Howson announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Boll, 24, recorded four goals and three assists for seven points and 149 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Blue Jackets in 2009-10. He led the club in penalty minutes for the third-straight season and ranked 15th in the NHL in that category.
“We are very pleased to complete this two-year deal with Jared,” Howson said. “He has proven to be a great teammate in his three years in Columbus and we look forward to seeing him continue to grow as a player.”
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
To say Howson has made sweeping changes within Nationwide Arena would be an understatement.
Every player in the Blue Jackets dressing room this season will fit one of the following criteria: he either was drafted, acquired in a trade, signed to a contract or contract extension by Howson.
Only three players who played as Blue Jackets in 2006-07 - Rick Nash, Rostislav Klesla and Marc Methot - are still with the organization.
Further, late last season, Howson fired the coach he acquired upon his hiring - Ken Hitchcock - and replaced him with his own choice, Scott Arniel.
His players. His coaches. His cross to bear if the Blue Jackets flop again in 2010-11.
Howson’s contract with the Blue Jackets expires on June30, 2011, but it includes an “evergreen” clause, which guarantees a one-year buyout by the club from the moment he’s notified that he’ll no longer be retained.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
“We’d like to make an upgrade, sure,” Howson said. “But if we don’t get a deal done, I’m fine taking this group of defensemen into the start of the season with us. We think it’s a good group; a group that can win games for you.”
Howson also said no trades are imminent and none are currently in the works, but the Blue Jackets do have “feelers” out with a few clubs. He would not comment publicly on any possible trade partners.
Vancouver, which has two too many defensemen, is a club that is known to have had at least preliminary talks with the Blue Jackets, though a source tells The Dispatch that no names have been exchanged.
The Canucks have pulled back from the table, and Howson—not wanting to appear desperate—is not banging the drum to make a deal, either. It could be days, weeks or a month or more before something is consummated.
more plus other Columbus notes…
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