Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Raffi Torres needs a little time each morning for his surgically repaired right knee to “get loose,” and he’s anxiously awaiting Wednesday or Thursday, when he’ll skate for the first time in six months.
But Blue Jackets fans need not worry, said Torres, acquired in a July 1 trade with Edmonton for Gilbert Brule.
“When I’m healthy, I’m definitely going to let Columbus know when I’m on the ice,” Torres said. “I’m going to put it all on the line. People are going to know when I’m out there. That’s just how I play.
“I’ve had a couple of rough seasons that I’m not too happy about, so I’m looking for a fresh start.”
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed free agent left wing Craig MacDonald to a one-year contract and re-signed center Derek MacKenzie to a two-year contract, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. Both are two-way NHL-American Hockey League contracts and keeping with club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
MacDonald, 31, registered two goals and nine assists for 11 points and 16 penalty minutes in 65 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, setting career highs in assists, points and games played. He was nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed left wing Nikita Filatov to a standard three-year entry level contract, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Filatov, 18, was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft held at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on June 20-21. He scored 32 goals and added 34 assists for 66 points with 90 penalty minutes in 34 games with CSKA of the Russian Junior League during the 2007-08 season. He also saw action in five games with CSKA’s Russian Elite League team and represented Russia at the 2008 World Junior Championships. He tallied 4-5-9 with 10 penalty minutes and had a +7 plus/minus rating in seven games to help Team Russia capture the bronze medal. Russia’s captain, he led the team in assists, points and plus/minus rating.
“We are very pleased that Nikita has made a strong commitment to play in North America as soon as possible,” said Howson. “He is a dynamic, talented player with outstanding offensive instincts. We look forward to seeing him in training camp this fall.”
added 2:48pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The tug-of-war over Nikita Filatov’s services officially started Thursday morning, when the Columbus Blue Jackets signed him to a standard, NHL entry-level contract, which for the 2008 draft year, means a salary of $875,000 (U.S.) plus bonuses that could potentially triple his compensation.
from Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch,
The biggest offseason signing in Blue Jackets history—the face of the franchise, mind you—doesn’t score goals or play defense, isn’t much of a skater and struggles to move the puck. His weight hovers around 275 pounds, on a 5-foot-10ish frame, and the only time he has worn the C is when jokesters liken him to Captain Kangaroo.
This is the guy the Jackets are pinning their hopes on? Yes, and it’s hard to argue against them. Ken Hitchcock, who signed a threeyear extension yesterday to coach the Blue Jackets through the 2011-12 season, is more important to the team than any recent free-agent signing or draft pick.
Talked to agent Don Meehan today (Wednesday). He’s expecting to talk with Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson again on Thursday regarding goaltender Pascal Leclaire, and it sounds like the talks are heating up ... in a good way. It’s believed to be a three-year deal. Money is the issue, but they might be getting close.
I’ve been saying all along that Leclaire signing an offer sheet is unlikely. I still believe that’s the case. But if you’re looking for a candidate, look no further than the Colorado Avalanche. First off, the Avs have quite possibly the worst goaltending tandem in the NHL…
more on Columbus
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NYT,
According to an article in Tuesday’s Sovietskiy Sport, KHL president and Gazprom export CEO Alexander Medvedev wants the Columbus Blue Jackets to compensate CSKA Moscow for the Jacks’ signing of 18-year-old first-round draft choice Nikita Filatov. When asked how much the compensation should come to, he answered, “At least half a million dollars.”
The Columbus Blue Jackets will hold a 12:30pm press conference today to announce a contract extension for Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcock.
Update 1:27pm ET (alanah): Extension is for 3 years, till the end of the 2011-12 season. From the Blue Jackets—
“Signing Ken Hitchcock to this contract extension is another important step for the Columbus Blue Jackets as Ken is at or near the top of anyone’s list when it comes to NHL coaches,” said [GM Scott] Howson. “He has brought credibility, presence and structure to our team and is an integral part of the Blue Jackets’ identity. We are pleased to have stability for at least the next four years at the head coaching position.”
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers in the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent center Michael Peca, The Dispatch has learned.
Best guess here is it’s a two-year deal. It could be announced as soon as Tuesday. Apparently, there are some minor details to hammer out before it’s completed.
read on for other Columbus contract odds &ends
From the Columbus Blue Jackets:
The Columbus Blue Jackets signed center R.J. Umberger to a four-year contract, club General Manager Scott Howson announced July 7. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Last month, Umberger was acquired by Columbus with a fourth round pick (118th overall) in the 2008 Entry Draft from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a first round pick (19th overall) and a third round pick (67th overall) in the same draft.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets’ summer of significant change has made the club bigger, stronger, faster and nastier.
One word might sum it up: Hitchcockian.
From the day Scott Howson was hired as general manager more than a year ago, it was obvious he saw his dream hockey club through the same lens as coach Ken Hitchcock.
“We’re on the same page,” Howson said. “We have the same opinion on how you build a hockey club.”
Then we have a complaint from a Dispatch reader,
Mr. Stein: You people continue to show your financial interest in the Blue Jackets.
Do you really believe the sports masses in central Ohio are interested in names of hockey players, whom most of us could not pronounce, in a two-page spread (last Sunday)? Yawn. Also, there was an inordinate amount of space dedicated to the NHL draft when not too many folks are interested.
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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