Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
In terms of truth, I’d rather swallow whatever drivel A-Rod is selling than the garble generated near the NHL trade deadline. The only thing planted between an overage of gossip and a shortage of substance is an exaggeration of facts. But every now and again, a juicy hockey rumor actually makes sense.
That brings us to the latest “Tim Connolly is headed for [insert team]” chatter making the rounds in recent weeks. This one had the pending unrestricted free agent going to Columbus, where the Blue Jackets have been clamoring for a center of Connolly’s ilk.
And why not?
Connolly alongside Rick Nash would be frightening with the big winger manning the left side and the right-handed center wheeling and dealing the way he can when healthy.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Which leads to the one list I have that is more complete than any other, and that is the list of players the Jackets won’t pursue – be it because the players are too old, too expensive, or would cost too much (first-round pick plus) to import. So far, I have on that list Jay Bouwmeester, Lecavalier, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Jason Spezza, Olli Jokinen, Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk and Nik Antropov. In a couple of the cases – Jokinen, Antropov, Tkachuk – I personally don’t think the player’s personality fits in Columbus.
read on to find out who the Blue Jackets may have interest in…
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
The Blue Jackets have acquired center Chris Gratton on re-entry waivers. He had been playing in the Tampa Bay organization. The 6-4, 220-pound forward had been playing for Nolfolk of the AHL. He will join the team for the trip to Western Canada which begins on Tuesday in Calgary.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
The most outrageous moment of the night belonged to Jason Williams in the shootout. He pretended to fan on a shot to open up the legs of rookie goalie Justin Pogge. The puck slid between the wickets and in the net. Williams says he has used the risky move before.
“It was a great trick shot,” Nash said. “I wonder how he practices that one, but we’ll take it.”
more on the Blue Jackets SO victory of the Leafs…
from an online chat today at the Columbus Dispatch,
Prospal, Lombardi, or Antropov, who do you prefer and who currently tops the CBJ’s wish list?
Aaron Portzline: I’m a Lombardi guy because I know he can play center. The other two might be best served as wingers. Plus, Lombardi has a history of playing with Rick Nash in international competition, and they’ve done well together.
What do you believe it would take on our part to get Lombardi here? Do you know if there are any other teams interested in him? What would his cap hit be?
Aaron Portzline: I’ve heard they want a defenseman, so Klesla makes sense. Not sure Methot would do it. Don’t worry about the cap hit, as it’s not really pertinent in Columbus. He’s making $1.85M this season and $2.35M next season. After that, he’s a UFA.
much more on the Blue Jackets…
from Ray Slover of the Sporting News,
Hitchcock believes he has a solid enough defense, with shutdown guys and puck movers. Now, the Jackets need that extra kick for the offense. They miss shiny rookie Derick Brassard, whose season is toast after shoulder surgery.
Does Jordan Staal unbutton your jacket? If the Penguins go into sell mode, he’ll be available.
Does Nik Antropov turn down you collar? The idea of Antropov playing with Nash has Jackets watchers slobbering all over themselves.
Does Erik Cole add shine to your buttons? If he’s on top of his game, Cole could be a Hitchcock player and the power forward they need.
Or is Bill Guerin that trick up your sleeve? That might be a stretch, because of his so-so playoff production, but when Billy’s hot, he’s hot.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Nationwide Arena is dark and quiet when Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock arrives each morning around 6, a newspaper in one hand and a coffee in the other. He doesn’t go straight to his office. That can wait. He heads for the arena’s empty lower bowl.
“I love the solitude of the rink in the early morning,” Hitchcock said. “I can think when it’s that quiet I sit there and soak it all up while I’m getting ready for the day to get rolling. You can feel the building and all the stories it has to tell, almost like it’s alive.
“To me, it’s a beautiful place to be, especially when they have the curtains pulled back from the upstairs windows and the sun comes shining in on the ice.”
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed forward Fredrik Modin on injured reserve retroactive to February 14, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. Modin, who suffered a lower body injury in last Saturday’s 5-1 win at Carolina, was evaluated by team physicians from OhioHealth upon the team’s return to Columbus and is expected to miss at least one week.
from Rory Boylen of the Hockey News,
Here are two tilts I always get up for because the potential for them to grow into something more than just another game is teetering on the edge of all-out war.
Detroit vs. Columbus
These are the culprits from the Friday game I alluded to earlier (and if you haven’t seen Steve Mason’s stacked-pads save on Henrik Zetterberg, two words come to mind: Dear Lord). The Red Wings, so dominant for so long in the barren Central Division, finally have a foe similar to that itch you can’t reach in the middle of your back. The Blue Jackets aren’t deep, they aren’t overly talented and they definitely don’t have much experience past the first 82 games of a season, but they have a hard-working team, a Ken Hitchcock system and this special kid named Mason.
more and a look at Philadelphia/Washington too…
from Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock, like Holland, would begin his ideal team with a goaltender. In Dallas, he saw the before/after effect of Ed Balfour, whose work in net helped the Stars win the 1998-99 Stanley Cup.
“You don’t realize how important a goalie is until you have one,” he said. Which is why the Blue Jackets are so better positioned for a deep run into the playoffs, once they finally get there, than many teams.
Would Mason, who appears fully recovered from mononucleosis that kept him out of the previous three games, be able to hold up under playoff pressure? Impossible to know for sure, but the best goaltenders—the ones left standing, as Hitchcock likes to say—are the most competitive ones. And Mason burns with a bristly passion to win.
“There couldn’t have been a better team to come back against,” he said.
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.
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