Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch,
A painting of Rick Nash hangs in the office of Blue Jackets interim coach Claude Noel, an abstract piece of art in which one would struggle to identify the player within the frame.
The picture perfectly captures Nash’s career. Seven seasons in Columbus and Jackets fans still are not exactly sure what to make of the team’s best player. He is an enigma wrapped in a CBJ sweater.
Is Nash a top-15 player in the league? Sometimes. Is the Blue Jackets’ captain an effective leader? Maybe. This much is clear: Nash is a nice guy and ever-improving playmaker who might simply need a healthy dose of big-time success to finally bring his work into focus.
Winning Olympic gold as a member of Team Canada may well be that dose.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
Raffi Torres and Milan Jurcina, a pair of UFAs, continue to attract serious interest. In the case of Torres, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Boston are three of the teams we keep hearing.
The Bruins have three second-round picks in the upcoming draft so they shouldn’t have trouble meeting the Jackets’ believed asking price. It’s thought that the Bruins also have interest in Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne, another UFA, among others. Torres played for Boston coach Claude Julien in the AHL with Hamilton in the 2002-03 season.
Pittsburgh is said to still have interest despite dealing their second-round pick to Florida for Jordan Leopold. They are looking for a rugged winger with a scorer’s touch to put on a line with Evgeni Malkin. Would the Penguins be willing to part with offensive defenseman Alex Goligoski if the Jackets sweetened the pot?
via Tom Reed of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Dispatch has learned the Philadelphia Flyers are one of the teams with a strong interest in Jackets winger Raffi Torres. The problem is the Flyers do not have a first- or a second-round pick in the upcoming draft. It’s believed general manager Scott Howson is seeking at least a second-round pick. We don’t think there are serious talks between the clubs, but only that the Flyers have a serious interest in Torres.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson and the agent for unrestricted free agent Raffi Torres spoke during the Olympic break and were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension, the Dispatch has learned. Torres almost certainly will be dealt by Wednesday’s trade deadline.
No surprise here, of course. Howson likes Torres—he’s been part of two organizations that traded for him—but the Jackets are anticipating the return of Nikita Filatov and are likely going to be spending money on rebuilding their blueline.
via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
What did you think of the hit?
Did you like what Troy Brouwer did, stepping up and fighting Stralman and earning 19 minutes in penalties? Hawks coach Joel Quenneville did.
“I thought he did exactly what we’d want him to do,” Quenneville said.
Watch the hit below…
Hey, the all count- Mikael Samuelsson with the game winner last night.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
A record six teams will be opening next season in three different European cities.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild will play two regular-season games against each other at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday, Oct. 7 and Friday, Oct. 8.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks will square off for two games at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday, Oct. 8 and Saturday, Oct. 9.
The Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes will play each other at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, on Saturday, Oct. 9 and Sunday, Oct. 10.
from Jim Kelley of Sports Illustrated,
No GM is going to send a coach off into his good night with the reputation of not being able to work with kids. That’s why you hear things like “the team was not progressing” even though many of the players currently on the St. Louis and Columbus rosters were simply going through the learning experience that comes with having success early and then falling back as teams play against them with greater intensity.
Still, you have to wonder if Murray or Hitchcock will get another chance in the now youth-conscious NHL. You also have to wonder if once the Blue Jackets move past Noel (or the 54-yer old shows them that he can relate to their kids), Howson won’t be placing a call to Filatov.
Mother Russia looks nice right now, but NHL money, a spot on Nash’s wing and no one harping about defensive play can be a powerful lure…especially for a GM who has lost a potential franchise player.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
“I’m pretty much in shock,” Umberger said. “It’s a really tough thing to swallow. Hitch has done so much for my career. As a player, you feel like you let him down.”
Several players agreed and said they also are to blame for the team’s poor showing a season after reaching the playoffs for the first time.
Hitchcock’s demanding style and penchant for overloading players, especially young ones, with information likely contributed to his ouster. Some players appeared overwhelmed by the endless meetings and mixed messages.
Prized prospect Nikita Filatov returned to Russia in November, citing differences with Hitchcock. Youngsters such as Brassard and Voracek, goalless in the past 24 games, looked to be regressing. But Brassard was one of several players interviewed last night who had praise for Hitchcock.
“I respect that he tried to help me and all the young guys,” Brassard said. “He was really patient with us. Some guys will say he was not right for the young players, and he was hard on us. He knew what we were about to face, and he was getting us to be NHL players.”
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have relieved Head Coach Ken Hitchcock of his duties behind the bench and named Assistant Coach Claude Noel as the club’s interim head coach, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today.
Noel, 54, joined the Blue Jackets as an assistant coach on June 28, 2007 after spending four seasons as the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals. During that time, he led the club to a 183-94-12-31 regular season record, three 100-point seasons and two West Division titles. He also compiled a 33-21 record in the Calder Cup Playoffs, including two appearances in the Finals (2004, 2006). During the 2003-04 season, the club compiled a 46-24-7-3 record and went 16-6 in the playoffs en route to capturing the organization’s first Calder Cup championship. That year, Noel was named the AHL’s Coach of the Year.
“This season has been very disappointing for the Blue Jackets organization and our fans and the responsibility for that rests with all of us from management to the coaches and players,” said Howson. “Hitch worked tirelessly to build an identity for this team that was missing before he arrived and deserves a great deal of credit for those efforts. He earned and received the opportunity to turn things around this season, but unfortunately that has not happened and it has become apparent that change is in the best interest of our organization. Claude Noel is a good hockey coach with a proven track record in the American Hockey League. He knows our team and is deserving of this opportunity.”
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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