Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Blue Jackets have three pro scouts in Pittsburgh tonight for the Rangers—Penguins game. According to sources in the Steel City, Bob Strumm, the Blue Jackets head of pro scouting, is there with Bryan Stuart and Kjell Larssen.
The easy assumption is that the Blue Jackets are looking at the Rangers, just another night in what has been a long flirtation between the two organizations….
But what about the Penguins? Pittsburgh had two scouts in Nationwide Arena for Saturday’s win over Nashville. Maybe the Blue Jackets and Penguins are having talks and tonight’s opponent is nothing more than a curve ball. Who would the Jackets want?
From the AP via SI,
Of all things, the Blue Jackets - the only NHL team to never reach the postseason - find themselves in the midst of the race for the playoffs.
“We know we have a lot of work ahead of ourselves but it’s pretty exciting for our players to know that we’re in the middle of this mess with everybody else,’’ coach Ken Hitchcock said Monday. “We’re right in the battle here to go up the ladder if we can continue to play well, but one bad week and you’re really behind the eight ball. I think it’s going to be like this the rest of the year. It’s going to be close.’‘
Heading into this week’s games, the 7-year-old franchise is off to its best season at 21-18-6. The best previous mark at this stage was 17-22-6 in 2002-2003. Considering the club has never come close to having a winning record, that in itself is an accomplishment.
from Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets are a very good group of guys. I wouldn’t say that if it weren’t true. They are, without exception, good guys to deal with, even after brutal losses when nobody would want a microphone stuffed in their face.
On the ice, they’re way too nice, too, and this is unfortunate.
The most recent come-out-of-my-chair moment happened during the St. Louis game on Tuesday, when Nikolai Zherdev was run over by Blues forward David Backes.
Wild day at the rink, even beyond the wardrobe racks full of `Dancing With The Stars’ attire for tonight’s show. (Seriously, those fit on people?)
—C Kris Beech is on waivers. The Blue Jackets will find out tomorrow if he’s cleared and on his way to Syracuse. Stay tuned.
more on Columbus…
via the Columbus Blue Jackets,
The Columbus Blue Jackets have added goaltender Steve Mason to the roster on emergency recall, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal Leclaire left Saturday’s game at San Jose following the second period due to illness and will not be available to play when the club visits the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.
Mason, 19, was recently named the Most Valuable Player at Top Goaltender at the 2008 World Junior Championships after leading Canada to its fourth-straight gold medal. The Oakville, Ontario native went 5-0-0 with a 1.19 goals-against average, .951 save percentage and one shutout in five games.
via the Columbus Blue Jackets,
The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned center Gilbert Brule to the Syracuse Crunch, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today.
Brule, 21, has appeared in 31 games with the Blue Jackets this season, tallying one goal and three assists for four point with 10 penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus rating. Columbus’ first pick, sixth overall, in the 2005 Entry Draft, he has registered 12-15-27 and 38 penalty minutes in 116 career NHL games
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Why couldn’t the Blue Jackets play host to a game in Ohio Stadium? Schedule the Detroit Red Wings or the Pittsburgh Penguins, and you could draw up to 100,000, maybe more, the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game.
“Logistically, you’ve got issues with the weather and the way we maintain the stadium in the winter,” said Don Patko, Ohio State’s assistant athletic director for facilities. “But we never say never. It would be like setting up for a rock concert.”
Blue Jackets president Mike Priest said Columbus is not on the NHL’s list for cities under consideration.
“It would be a hoot, I’ll grant you that,” Priest said. “But they made it clear that, in their mind, only a few U.S. cities could pull it off.”
Nash, with anti-inflammatory medicine coursing through his veins, is expected to play tonight when the Blue Jackets face the Carolina Hurricanes in Nationwide Arena.
“I couldn’t swallow my own spit,” said Nash, who missed two games. “It’s hard to breathe, so you don’t have a lot of energy. You can’t do much. You can’t drink or eat because it hurts.”
more on the Blue Jackets at the Columbus Dispatch.
Trade rumors update: We’ve been told that no trade between the Blue Jackets and Rangers is in the works. The two teams have talked, but nothing has been agreed upon and nothing will be announced when the roster freeze is lifted.
About the roster freeze: turns out the freeze is in effect until midnight Thursday night, not tonight (Wednesday).
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...it is believed the Blueshirts’ recent concentrated scouting of the Blue Jackets has been focused on putting together a deal to pry either veteran Adam Foote or top-four defenseman Rostislav Klesla out of Columbus.
The 36-year-old Foote, a physical presence the Rangers so obviously lack on the blue line, is on the final year of a three-year contract at $4.6M per that contains a no-trade clause he would have to waive in order to come to New York.
read on, more names mentioned…
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