Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/10/13 at 10:54 AM ET
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
The process started with an incredibly complicated deal — among the team, Nationwide, the convention authority, and city, county and state officials — that took two years to assemble. Under intense pressure, Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell traded power and capital to give his franchise a chance at long-range stability.The Jackets’ new arena lease, and a firmer public-private partnership, placed a team drowning in red ink on firmer ground.
The process received a terrific bilge pumping last week, when the players union signed off on the NHL’s realignment plan. The Jackets, at long last, will head East (pending approval by the league’s governors, which is expected). The move will slash travel costs and diminish competitive disadvantages.It will also boost local television ratings, revenue and viewer interest, if only because most road games will begin at an earlier hour.
The arena deal and realignment are two of the most important developments in franchise history. In both cases, the outcome was not foregone. In fact, given the Jackets’ star-crossed history, one might have expected neither to come to fruition. But here they are, to stun the senses.
Between these developments, the hockey operations department was put in the hands of John Davidson, a move that lent a level of credibility the Jackets have never had. They are rebuilding, again, but the process has an experienced steward this time. Yesterday, they extended their point streak to six games with a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings for their first shutout of the season.There are young assets on hand. More assets are on the way pending the trade deadline, which is April 3. The team has three first-round picks in the upcoming draft, which is deep.
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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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