Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock cannot escape criticism. Since the season began, Hitchock has kept Filatov on an impossibly short leash. For every mistake, there was instant rebuke and, at times, a public punishment. Why treat Filatov so? Is not the goal here to take this talent-rich player and mold him rather than emasculate him? Does not a smart coach find a way to teach him—for the good of the player, the team and the organization? Is not Filatov a prime asset?
Filatov is not devoid of culpability. Many Jackets have fresh memories of Zherdev’s enigmatic, and sometimes toxic, presence. Filatov, by comparison, is well-liked. Lately, however, Filatov has moped as his frustration has grown, and it was a source of worry within the tightly knit group of players. There is no room for added drama over a rigorous season. Jake Voracek and Derick Brassard continue to have their chains yanked, but they have responded to challenges where Filatov has not. Ultimately, Filatov used his Moscow escape hatch, which comes with a tax-free contract worth about $1 million.
The nut of it all is this: The general manager, the coach and the player reached the same conclusion, and that is that Filatov will best be served by returning to Russia for at least a year.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have loaned forward Nikita Filatov to CSKA (pronounced CHESH-ka) of the Kontinental Hockey League for the remainder of the 2009-10 season, General Manager Scott Howson announced today.
Filatov has appeared in 13 games with the Blue Jackets this season, scoring two goals and adding eight penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating. He has tallied 6-0-6 and eight penalty minutes in 21 NHL games over the past two seasons.
“Nikita is a top prospect in our organization and we believe it is in the best interest of his development to play more and in all situations in the KHL,” said Howson. “We have agreed to his request to be assigned to CSKA and this should afford him the opportunity to continue to work and develop his game in his hometown of Moscow.”
added 2:37pm, Dmitry Chesnokov of PuckDaddy talks to Filatov,
What are the main reasons of your decision?
There is only one reason. I think this is better for my development to go back and play in Russia. There are more opportunities there to develop as a player and to really compete. At least at this time. CSKA can give me more right now than Columbus, to whom I am thankful. And all I need is to get playing time.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
Rookie forward Nikita Filatov, who has struggled to remain in coach Ken Hitchcock’s lineup, might be headed back to Russia, perhaps as soon as this week, according to sources within and beyond the NHL.
Jackets general manager Scott Howson would not comment on a potential agreement allowing the 19-year-old Filatov to return to his former club team, CSKA Moscow. Nothing has been finalized, however, and Filatov and the Blue Jackets are expected to talk again today about the possibility of staying in Columbus.
At least one teammate has encouraged Filatov to give the situation more time before making a decision, a source said.
Neither Filatov, a healthy scratch last night against Edmonton, nor his agent Don Meehan would comment when contacted by The Dispatch. Hitchcock also declined comment.
Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers describes the Rich Nash shootout winner…
Nash caught a rut, teetered (smoothly), stuck his left foot in the air as if searching for a fire hydrant and went roof.
via Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
I’ve seen my share of hockey practices over the last 10 seasons or so, but I’ve never seen this.
Rather than have a film session in the dressing room and then head out for an on-ice practice, the Blue Jackets are mixing the two this morning in the wake of a 9-1 drubbing by the Red Wings on Wednesday.
A large TV was wheeled out to where the tunnel comes into the bench. After skating for 20 minutes or so, the players were brought over to watch highlights (lowlights?) from the Red Wings game.
It was an attentive audience.
“Seeing the fans giving me the cheers when you’re stopping the easy long shot . . . it’s not a great feeling to get that from the home fans. At the same time, they paid their money and they have their rights . . .”
-Columbus goaltender Steve Mason after losing to the Wings last night. More on the game from Michael Arace at Puck-rakers.
Ken Htichcock after losing to the Wings 9-1 last night.
Ward left the ice bleeding from the upper leg area and taken to the hospital.
update 10:15pm, Ward will spend the night in a Columbus hospital.
from Jeff Bell of Business First of Columbus,
At best, the Columbus Blue Jackets lost $30.4 million over the last three years, and at worst $43 million, according to a report released Thursday that outlines ways to keep the financially strapped hockey team from leaving town.
Chief among the nearly 20 options are ideas for public-private partnerships that would provide the National Hockey League club relief from its lease agreement at Nationwide Arena, although at the expense of taxpayers in some of the scenarios.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
First, to Voracek’s hair.
It’s not one of the “business-in-front, party-in-the-back” mullets that became, sadly, popular in the 1980s. No, Voracek’s mop is all party, similar to Jaromir Jagr’s ‘do in the early 1990s with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Jake and Jaromir are both from Kladno,” Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda said, referring to a city in the Czech Republic, an industrial suburb of Prague. “It’s like our Pittsburgh. So everybody looks like that in Kladno.”
Coach Ken Hitchcock—an old-school NHL coach by most measures—said he doesn’t mind the “Kladno cut”. But he might feel differently under other circumstances.
While in he was in Calgary this season, Flames reporters noted that such a haircut would never fly under the old-school rule of Flames general manager Darryl Sutter or coach Brian Sutter.
“Jake’s trying to see how far he can go before he really (honks) off the coach,” Hitchcock said, with a smile. “And he’s getting close.
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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