Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Reed at Puck-rakers,
Hitchcock loves the word “compete.” He peppers interviews with it and uses it much like Nash, in every situation. Adjective, adverb, noun, verb, you name it. It is Hitch’s go-to, four-tool word. Last season, he didn’t believe he had enough competitors to fit his demanding style.
He can’t use that excuse this fall. He’s banking on an increased intensity level to help with the scoring until the home-grown talent such as Jakub Voracek and Derrick Brassard ripens.
The Jackets didn’t have a fourth double-digit goal scorer last season until Dan Fritsche recorded his 10th goal on March 14. That’s astonishing.
from the mailbox of Ray Stein of the Columbus Dispatch,
Mr. Stein: I’ve lived here for 10 years and am still amazed when Buckeyes fans get threatened by the local NHL team. I’ve come up with several theories why:
1. They don’t like to share “their town” with anybody—maybe state government should leave, too; 2. They don’t like it that people in “their town” couldn’t care less about Ohio State and the football team. 3. They have a growing inferiority complex based upon their shortcomings.
Ten bucks (sorry for the pun) says Beyer will be more than willing to share “his town” and jump on the Blue Jackets bandwagon when the “misfits” become winners. Hopefully we won’t choke in the big game….
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
The franchise’s most marketable player lauded the offseason roster makeover but made no declarations about his long-range future here other than to express his continued affinity for his adopted hometown. He labeled the coming season a “huge year” in terms of franchise growth.
“It’s always in your head obviously about (where) your following years will be,” said Nash, who scored 38 goals last season. “I’m happy in Columbus; I love it in Columbus. I would stay here if everything lined up right.”
Reaching the playoffs for the first time in franchise history might make Nash’s decision easier and possibly curb speculation that he plans to bolt for a larger market such as Toronto.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
In Columbus, he hopes to finally live up to his title as a stay-at-home defenseman. The contract Commodore signed—$18.75 million over five seasons—would seem to indicate as much. The deal’s first two years include a no-trade clause.
“I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a while,” Commodore said. “That would be nice. I’d like to take a break from moving and establish some roots if I could.”...
Some critics, however, say the Jackets overpaid for a defenseman with 14 career goals and 49 assists in seven seasons spanning 296 games. The Hockey News labeled it the fourth-worst signing of the summer.
“I’ll be the first to admit I got a very good contract for myself,” Commodore said. “I know (NBC and TSN analyst) Pierre McGuire ran his mouth up there, which is no shocker. I don’t set the market. If you take what I’ve done in the last three years and take my comparables ... I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination it was an unfair contract.”
From the Blue Jackets press release—
The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired a conditional draft pick from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Joakim Lindstrom, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today.
Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers notes:
The pick will be determined by how many games Lindstrom plays with the Ducks during the 2008-09 season. It could be as high as a fourth-round pick or as low as a seventh-round pick.
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
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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