Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Hockey News projects that four of the first six picks will be defensemen, which hasn’t happened since the 1982 entry draft.
In fact, no more than three defensemen have been taken among the top 10 picks in the last 10 drafts.
“This is the finest crop in the history of the draft,” said Grant McCagg, who covers the draft year-round for McKeen’s Hockey, an online news service.
“And it comes at the right time for a lot of clubs, too. There is a real shortage in the league right now when it comes to defensemen who can carry the puck. Lots of teams are looking for one or two of those guys. That makes this even more attractive.”
*Related article previously on KK
from Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
The rumor over the weekend was Nikolai Zherdev, Dan Fritsche or Stefan Legein and the No. 19 pick to San Jose for Patrick Marleau. I spent most of Saturday pursuing this and was told by a handful of close-to-the-situation sources that there’s no truth to it, that the two clubs have not put together the framework of any specific trade as of yet. No names have been mentioned.
If there was merit to the rumor, I would have sparked up a blog immediately.
From David Pollack at the ‘Working the Corners’ blog,
The drumbeat isn’t quieting down when it comes to those Patrick Marleau trade rumors.
In fact, the pace is picking up.
So let me add this to the mix: An NHL source — not connected with either team — advises that the Sharks and Columbus are indeed close to a deal. San Jose would send Marleau and another player (unspecified) to the Blue Jackets for their first-round draft pick — 6th overall in the NHL entry draft later this month — and right wing Nikolai Zherdev.
read on for Pollack’s analysis of the rumor
Nash was on hand, even as the Stanley Cup Finals are still in progress, because he’s the cover star for 2K Sports’ forthcoming hockey video game, NHL 2K9. And he was here, in this small studio in a non-descript office park for an all-day motion-capture filming session for the game.
The idea is that by filming several dozen of Nash’s moves—shots, skating tricks, dekes and more—with special motion-capture cameras, 2K Sports—a division of Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive—will be able to incorporate some of what it calls Nash’s “signature” moves into the game.
That’s why 2K Sports has set up 56 of the motion-capture cameras all around the studio, on the ceiling and close to the floor: Together, they can take all the data they record and stitch it together into a realistic representation of Nash’s real-life movements.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
John H. McConnell died yesterday. He wasn’t quite 85 years old, and he had an incredible life. It began in a house that did not have electricity. It ended in a hospital where he donated a tower…..
He liked the players, and told them to play for one another. He liked the game, the toughness of it, the stress it put on team play. He thoroughly enjoyed sitting in his box, up there in the corner above sections 106 and 107, and seeing the arena fill up for a major-league sport right here, in Downtown Columbus. I have no doubt he was happy that the Jackets will play on, indefinitely, beyond him. That was the point.
When they showed his face on the Jumbotron, he’d wave and the crowd would cheer. That’s not a normal owner-fan relationship, but it’s not surprising in this case. McConnell’s intentions were always transparent and pure and it was impossible not to like the man, and admire him. The jamokes in section 216, row Z, had a bond with him.
From Michael Arace and Ron Carter at The Columbus Dispatch:
John H. McConnell, son of a steelworker, father to a new branch of the steel industry and majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team, died today after a long illness. He was 84.
Despite his business success, he never forgot his hardscrabble beginnings, the iconic industrialist who ran Worthington Industries as if he still wore coveralls. He was known as “Mr. Mac” to one and all, and when he removed the cigar from his mouth, he talked plain.
“It just came natural,” he said in a 1996 interview. “You don’t cheat. You don’t lie. You help your neighbor.”
continued… (*thanks to a KK member for passing on this news)
Update 6:27pm ET: A tribute to McConnell from the CBJ organization…
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Not enough was written, probably, about the job Adam Foote did against the Wild. There’s no question Marian Gaborik heard “Foote-Steps” the whole series, just like there’s no question Foote turned out to be a tremendous acquisition at the trade deadline. There’s also no question he’s making the Columbus Blue Jackets look like a ship of fools for letting him go, and for throwing him under the bus afterward with a lot of specious, not-for-attribution accusations.
There’s no question about what happened, though: GM Scott Howson went to the local press and whined about Foote playing some hardball over his contract, then slimed his character, and the media there ate it up.
Whether it was all true or not (and I have my doubts), it was just dumb of Howson to do that.
a little more on that topic plus Dater explains why he picked the Wild in round 1…
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets will have up to $20 million to spend on roster improvements this summer, along with a directive from ownership to get better quickly.
Now comes the potentially hard part—persuading free agents to take the Blue Jackets’ money, to sign a long-term contract with a club that outsiders view as the Tampa Bay Rays of hockey.
Today, the NHL hosted a teleconference call for the media to ask questions of Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock.
Here is the transcript of that Q&A.
Q. The emphasis has been in the west all year now. Now the popular belief is whoever comes out of the west is going to be the Stanley Cup champion. Do you have that sense, as well?
KEN HITCHCOCK: No, I don’t. I think one of the problems is when you have so many good teams that what’s left of your team at the end of the three series that you have to play in sometimes isn’t much. I think a lot of it depends on the damage that gets done in some of these series.
I think when you look at the competitiveness of the teams and the closeness of really almost all eight teams in the playoffs, you know, I think health is going to be a major issue on whoever comes out from this series because it has the makings, especially in these early rounds, of some really long series here.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Jackets’ season was effectively over during Christmas shopping season. If you attended a party on New Year’s Eve, you might catch somebody discussing the talent at the top of the next summer’s draft.
This season wasn’t the same. It might seem like it because of increasing expectations, but it wasn’t even close. Coach Ken Hitchcock achieved his goal of making the Blue Jackets difficult for others to play against. His system allowed a team that didn’t have a depth of veteran talent to consistently beat teams that do, and he might have been one goal scorer from getting the Jackets into the playoffs. And they even had that scorer—Fredrik Modin—but injuries limited him to 23 games.
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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