Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
My recurring thought is this: Forlorn and frustrated fans who long ago fled Nationwide Arena ought to know that it’s now safe to re-enter the building. This team is legitimate.
The Jackets have glaring needs for a playmaker and a puck-moving, right-handed defenseman, but they have not dwelled on what they’re missing. They have built something of substance on top of Leclaire, an All-Star in everything but name, and the defense he anchors.
—C Sergei Fedorov has left the club. Gentleman, hold your rumors. I’m told he departed from Chicago this morning to get an early jump on the All-Star Game break. He wasn’t going to play tonight anyway, not with the concussion. Read into this as you will.
—Rumors are flying with the Blue Jackets again. Ottawa, Detroit, New York ... pick your club. Howson has said he would prefer to trade with an Eastern Conference team, but he wouldn’t stop a trade—if it were the right trade—just because the partner played in the West. The exception, of course, would be Central Division teams.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets hoped it wouldn’t come to this; not so soon, anyway.
But tonight, when the Blue Jackets play the Dallas Stars in American Airlines Center, rookie center Derick Brassard will join the No. 1 line with wingers Rick Nash and Fredrik Modin….
Hitchcock, perhaps more than anybody else in the organization, is reluctant to put Brassard too high in the lineup.
It’s not so much the opposing centers Brassard will face—tonight, for instance, he will get to know Stars center Mike Modano—but the big, burly defensemen, who dine on young, smallish, inexperienced players such as Brassard.
via the Columbus Blue Jackets,
The Columbus Blue Jackets have activated left wing Fredrik Modin and defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen off Injured Reserve and assigned defenseman Duvie Westcott to the Syracuse Crunch, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate, Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson announced today. Modin and Tollefsen will be available to return to the lineup this afternoon when Columbus visits the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.
As of noon today, Blue Jackets defenseman Duvie Westcott is on waivers. All 29 other NHL clubs can claim Westcott—starting from last place Los Angeles all the way to Detroit—for no compensation.
I don’t see Westcott getting claimed. He’s making $1.1M this year and $1.85M the next two seasons. That’s a lot of money for a player who has a reputation for getting injured.
This is a tough move. Westcott was a really solid player for the Blue Jackets during seasons when there weren’t too many solid players on the club. He’s a class act, too.
more on the Blue Jackets…
Nash scores the game winner with 22 seconds left.
added 8:42am, from Puck-rakers,
With Coyotes’ D-men Keith Ballard and Derek Morris in front of him, Nash switched the puck from forehand to backhand no fewer than nine times. He shifted back and forth on this skates, lowered a shoulder and made his way past both Ballard and Morris, considered the Coyotes’ most reliable blue-liners.
Coyotes goaltender Mikael Tellqvist tried to poke-check the puck away. He got a piece of it, but the puck followed Nash, who settled it down and fired a wrister into the net before Tellqvist could recover.
from the Columbus Disptach,
In a sport rife with occupational hazards, blocking shots is among the most painful and least glorified tasks. It is an undervalued art form, one colored by bruises, contoured by bumps and crafted by players who embody the definition of “taking one for the team.”...
“There are times it hurts so bad that you want to cry,” defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen said. “To the average person, it might seem insane stepping in front of a shot, but it’s part of the game.”
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.
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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