Kukla's Korner

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Entries with the tag: columbus blue jackets

Blue Jackets, Ehrhoff engage in ‘slow dance’ courtship

Via the Hockey News's Jared Clinton, this is a little bit strange:

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  Tags: christian+ehrhoff, columbus+blue+jackets

Blue Jackets’ Foligno feels upgrades = return-to-playoffs organizational mentality

Via the Score's Craig Hagerman, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno weighed in on his team's recent trades as an organizational show of force, discussing the trades for Brandon Saad and signing of Gregory Campbell with Sportsnet's Luke Fox:

In a cap-relief transaction, [Blackhawks GM Stan] Bowman dealt away the most talented young forward no one knew was available in a seven-piece move that saw Columbus give up forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp.

But there's no debate which team landed the best player. Columbus wasted no time locking up Saad, a restricted free agent, for six years, leaving a small-market dressing room positively giddy.

“I was really, really happy. The organization is making a statement about what type of team we want to be, how serious we are about winning. You bring in a player like Brandon Saad, who’s won two Cups already, it’s a big statement," captain Nick Foligno told us this week at the Smile Zone Foundation golf tournament in Milton, Ont.

"It’s sad because you lose a few friends, but it’s a huge pickup for us. He’s an unbelievable talent, and a young player at that. You’ll get a lot great years out of a player like him. Another guy—they bring in [former Boston Bruins centre] Gregory Campbell, who’s already won a Cup. They’re really pushing for us to become the team we know we can be.”

Fox and Foligno continue...

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  Tags: brandon+saad, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, gregory+campbell, nick+foligno, stan+bowman

Simmons offers a spread-out set of Sunday topics

The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons discusses the inevitable "falls" of Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel as the main topic in his Sunday notebook, but you and I both know that numbers 3 and 81 will be exiting Toronto in salary-and-or-player-dumps soon, and we all know that Jaromir Jagr's ability tos core in the "Dead Puck" era was (and now is again) pretty damn impressive, so this set of observations strikes me as the most pertinent "chunk" of Simmons' notebook:

Before trading David Clarkson to Columbus, the Leafs thought they had a deal going that would have sent him back to New Jersey. The player whose contract would have swapped in exchange has not been confirmed, but quite likely it’s the concussed Ryan Clowe ... There was significant interest in Roman Polak at the NHL deadline, including from his former team, the St. Louis Blues. The Leafs like what Polak gives them from a stability and maturity point of view, something the current team is lacking in ... Pretty sure Ron Wilson was an advocate of Phaneuf being named captain of the Leafs. Wasn’t he the coach at the time? ... The narrative once was that the Leafs won the trade that brought Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner to Toronto in exchange for Francois Beachemin. The standings don’t agree. Since then, the Leafs are playing .497 hockey and the Ducks are accumulating points at a .638 clip ... If you don’t love the Andrew Hammond, Hamburglar, story, you don’t love sports. I’m doing something I don’t remember doing before: I quietly cheering for the Ottawa Senators.

Simmons continues, discussing his usual potpourri of Sunday sports topics.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, columbus+blue+jackets, david+clarkson, dion+phaneuf, francois+beauchemin, jake+gardiner, joffrey+lupul, new+jersey+devils, ottawa+senators, roman+polak, ron+wilson, ryane+clowe, toronto+maple+leafs

Pre-trade deadline ‘headlines’ from Cox and Friedman

added 9:31pm, Watch the segment below...


Two days prior to the trade deadline, Sportsnet's Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman dished trade-related "headlines" during the 2nd intermission of Hockey Night in Canada's Saturday broadcast.

Cox stated that the Maple Leafs may be the most active team at the deadline. They're listening to offers for Jonathan Bernier, emphasis on "listening," but there are teams like San Jose, Dallas perhaps (given that Kari Lehtonen continues to struggle); Olli Jokinen, Korbinian Holzer and David Booth are also possible moves.

Cox wondered whether the Maple Leafs would trade Joffrey Lupul to the Habs, and there is only "very lukewarm interest" there, and the Clarkson deal was going to be more complicated, but the Blue Jackets and Leafs were unable to consummate a larger deal, so they swapped Horton for Clarkson.

According to Friedman, Patrick Sharp was not asked for a list of 10 teams to which he would accept a trade within 48 hours of the trade deadline, and because that list wasn't asked for before 3 PM on Saturday, he's going nowhere; he also reports that Mats Zuccarello and the Rangers are at contract loggerheads, and the Rangers offered 6 years at $4.5 million on average, so he's being shopped, but the Rangers are not allowing would-be suitors to discuss a contract with Zuccarello before making trade offers;

Jeff Petry's not playing tonight for Edmonton and Montreal, Anaheim and St. Louis have been rumored; Friedman wonders if the Blues have considered moving Vladimir Sobotka to help the team despite Sobotka's status as a KHL'er;

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  Tags: antoine+vermette, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, chicago+blackhawks, chris+stewart, columbus+blue+jackets, curtis+glencross, david+booth, david+clarkson, edmonton+oilers, jeff+petry, joffrey+lupul, jonathan+bernier, keith+yandle, korbinian+holzer, mark+pysyk, mats+zuccarello, nathan+horton, new+york+rangers, olli+jokinen, patrick+sharp, phoenix+coyotes, st.+louis+blues, ted+nolan, tim+murray, toronto+maple+leafs, vladimir+sobotka

Crosby doffs mitts with Brandon Dubinsky

This was unexpected:

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, columbus+blue+jackets, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

The All-Star Game was odd, but there were some bright moments

Those of you who like goals might have found the record-breaking 17-12 tally tolerable, and those of you who dislike the fan voting may have found Ryan Johansen's naming as the game's MVP on a night that Team Toews defeated Johansen's Team Foligno--via a 4-goal performance from John Tavares, a 3 goal-plus-3-assist performance from Jakub Voracek and 5-point nights for Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron (1 goal + 4 assists)--to be the ultimate, "This shit is a bunch of fluffernutter" exclamation point...

But Tavares spoke glowingly of the experience of being named an All-Star having grown up watching the games and being honored by and grateful for the opportunity of playing among the league's best, and there was this:

So the All-Star Game was an event in itself, and now it's over, with all of us expecting this come a year from now:

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  Tags: all-star+game, columbus+blue+jackets, darryl+sutter, jakub+voracek, john+tavares, jonathan+toews, patrice+bergeron, ryan+johansen

Bobrovsky injured during Jets game

This might make the All-Star Game's goaltending situation...interesting:

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, sergei+bobrovsky

Garrioch delivers holiday trade rumors

The NHL's roster freeze may be in effect until December 27th, but the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch brings trade rumor gifts to the hockey holiday tree via his Sunday column.

First, Garrioch discusses Nick Foligno's future with the Columbus Blue Jackets given his point-per-game form...

Making $3.08 million in the final year of his contract, some wonder if a five-year, $25-million deal would get it done for Foligno. Probably not — the thinking is he’d be able to eclipse that number on the lucrative free-agent market.

You have to think Foligno is looking at the seven-year, $36.75-million deal that David Clarkson signed with the Leafs at $5.25 million per season in 2013-14 as a benchmark. The Jackets aren’t sure if Nathan Horton will ever return from his back issues, so they want to keep Foligno badly.

These quips aren't surprising...

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  Tags: andrej+sekera, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, chris+stewart, columbus+blue+jackets, don+maloney, jarmo+kekalainen, keith+yandle, nick+foligno, phoenix+coyotes, ron+francis, tim+murray, tyler+myers

Simmons devotes a paragraph to hockey on Grey Cup day

The Grey Cup is taking place today, which is why the Wings-Canucks matinee is the only NHL game on the schedule, and the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons spends the vast majority of his Sunday notebook discussing the match-up between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders (airing at 6 PM EST on TSN), but he spends one meaty paragraph discussing all things NHL-related:

I wonder if Bob McCown read his own book. In the bestselling 100 Greatest Hockey Arguments, McCown makes a case against Paul Henderson’s inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame. A strong case. Lately, he has been pushing the Henderson Hall of Fame agenda. Strange ... On Saturday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks were tied for the most points in the NHL and that has to be wrong, doesn’t it? ... The first quarter MVP in the NHL: Pekka Rinne ...

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, connor+mcdavid, joffrey+lupul, jonathan+bernier, martin+brodeur, montreal+canadiens, paul+henderson, pekka+rinne, ryan+johansen, st+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs

LeBrun: Eyes of the hockey world are fixed upon the spat between Ryan Johansen and Blue Jackets

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's returned from his summer vacation, and LeBrun suggests that the juiciest story of early September involves the contract impasse between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen:

Two sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday there’s been next to no dialogue for a while as both sides remain more than $3 million apart per season on a proposed two-year contract.
That’s a sizable gap to be sure.

The sense is that the Johansen camp is willing to go longer on term but the team at this point is more fixated on a two-year bridge deal.

There are different layers to this squabble. From 10,000 feet above, there’s the baggage that this organization carries and the danger of alienating a core fan base that has been so, so patient through all the down years. An ugly fight with perhaps the young star most popular with the fan base is not the kind of thing you want when you consider the history here with Rick Nash, etc.

LeBrun continues, offering an assessment of the "salary ask"...

The nuts and bolts: It’s believed the Johansen camp, led by veteran agent Kurt Overhardt, wants the 22-year-old paid like some of the higher-end, young centers in the league (I’m guessing north of $6 million a year) and why not after a 33-goal campaign. Not to mention the drop-off at center on this team if Johansen isn’t playing. There’s leverage there for the player to be sure.

And LeBrun concludes by suggesting that the Blue Jackets will try to work out a PK Subban-style "bridge deal," though he's not sure whether that will happen before training camps kick off late next week.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, ryan+johansen

Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen remain…at odds…regarding CBJ leading scorer’s worth

Via Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien, the Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline reports that the Columbus Blue Jackets and their leading scorer, Ryan Johansen, remain a ways apart in terms of contract negotiations:

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, ryan+johansen

Blue Jackets 1st-rounder Sonny Milano to sign entry-level deal, then play for OHL’s Plymouth Whalers

Per NHL.com, this isn't "Red Wings-related" so it's not going in that blog, but this is a KK Hockey entry that has a very "local" angle for the OHL team that plays all but in my backyard and not too far from the boss.

If you needed another reason to go to a Plymouth Whalers game, the team made a very big trade in acquiring Sudbury's Matthew Campagna on Friday, and today, after holding their annual alumni game, the Whalers landed a first-round draft pick who's played with the U.S. National Developent Team Program:

Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Sonny Milano will play in the Ontario Hockey League this season rather than at Boston College, the NHL team said via Twitter on Saturday.

#CBJ 2014 NHL Draft Pick Sonny Milano has informed Boston College Hockey that he will play with the OHL's Plymouth Whalers this season.

— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) August 17, 2014

The 18-year-old forward will play for the Plymouth Whalers.

Milano, the 16th pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, attended United States World Junior evaluation camp in early August. There he said he planned to attend Boston College.

He is eligible to sign an entry-level contract with the Blue Jackets.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, sonny+milano

The NHL draft is an exercise in relinquishing control

ESPN's Scott Burnside penned a fascinating article about the NHL draft as witnessed through the eyes of general managers and assistant general managers, including Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald and Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill.

Nill suggests that, at some point, the management staff has to relinquish control to the amateur scouting staff and hope for the best:

Nill was at the Detroit draft tables when the Wings repeatedly came up with the proverbial diamonds in the rough: Datsyuk with the 171st pick in 1998; Zetterberg at 210 in 1999; Tomas Holmstrom at 257 in 1994. The Red Wings rarely drafted anywhere near the top of the first round thanks to their winning ways during that time, but the mandate was still the same, Nill said: Find good players who could help the team, no matter where the Wings were drafting.

"Those were special players. But at the time we didn't know that. You don't know it until three or four years down the road," Nill said.

This year's draft will be Nill's second as the GM of the Dallas Stars. It has been a period of evolution for someone who used to be one of the guys who put eyes on hundreds of youngsters at hundreds of games every season. Living in Detroit, he could see junior, college, AHL and NHL games all within a few hours' drive. Not so in Dallas, and his job description precludes those kinds of trips anyway.

Just as longtime Detroit GM Ken Holland had to trust Nill and his scouting staff to identify the right players for the Red Wings, Nill now has to step back and convey that trust to the Stars' staff.

"I had to hand over the reins," Nill said. "If you're going to be a manager, you're going to have to let it go."

Continued

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, dale+tallon, dallas+stars, florida+panthers, jim+nill, pittsburgh+penguins, toronto+maple+leafs

So the Blue Jackets won a playoff game…

"For serious," Columbus defeated Pittsburgh 4-3 in double overtime, tying the teams' first-round series at one--and the Blue Jackets rallied from a 3-1 deficit en route to their first playoff win:

Matt Calvert had 2 goals, David Savard had 2 assists, as Don Cherry pointed out, Brandon Dubinsky had 9 shots and 8 hits, and both goaltenders were stellar--Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 41 of 44 and Sergei Bobrovsky(!) stopped 39 of 42 in his victory.

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  Tags: bobrovsky, brandon+dubinsky, columbus+blue+jackets, david+savard, marc-andre+fleury, matt+calvert, sergei+bobrovsky

Don Cherry dekes, dangles and sprints past spears on Coach’s Corner

The CBC's Don Cherry had a very selective memory on Saturday evening. He lamented Brandon Dubinsky's ability to attack Sidney Crosby at will in Game 1 of the Penguins-Blue Jackets series, he mocked Duncan Keith for jabbing at the Blues' stars--suggesting that Keith "got Seabrook pumped up" (before sidestepping that topic)--he reviewed the Blues' game-winning goal against Chicago, lamenting Patrick Kane not blocking a shot, he very briefly praised Pavel Datsyuk's game-winner and suggested that the Wings are the worst team for the Bruins to play as their lack of retaliation prevents the Bruins from playing their game (no Loosick mention on Saturday), and then he praised Corey Perry scoring against Dallas and Ryan Getzlaf's persistence (no spear there, either).

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, boston+bruins, brandon+dubinsky, brent+seabrook, columbus+blue+jackets, columbus-blue-jackets, corey+perry, detroit+red+wings, don+cherry, duncan+keith, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+getzlaf, sidney+crosby

Corey Tropp charges Ed Jovanovski, who loses his mind, as do the announcers

This is one of those incidents where you watch a player do something stupid and wonder, "What the hell are you thinking?" and then you listen to the announcers and go, "Oh, so that's a player's thought process...Dear Gord, they're lunkheads."

Cue all of the above from this clip of Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski going after Columbus Blue Jackets forward Corey Tropp-who was out of his mind in trying to charge Jovanovski's face--with a dim retaliatory cheap shot (he received 5 and a game for his endeavors), then explained in equally dim fashion by the Blue Jackets' announcers, per Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien:

Florida actually scored a shorthanded goal whlie killing off the 5-minute major, but they lost 3-1 to Columbus.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, ed+jovanovski, florida+panthers

Devils get ‘Kiprusoffed’ by Rammo, Flames

In theory, the New Jersey Devils are out of the Wild Card race after having dropped a 1-0 decision (which included a controversial no-goal call against the Devils), to the Calgary Flames on Monday night, but Jaromir Jagr was defiant while speaking with the Associated Press:

"In my opinion, I think we're going to get one more chance (to make the playoffs)," New Jersey's Jaromir Jagr said. "It's too strange to finish like that. You've got to believe. It wouldn't make any sense to finish like that. We dominated. Just keep the faith and I think we're going to get one more chance in my opinion. We'll see if I'm right or wrong."

When I first saw Kari Ramo wearing the same white Bauer pads that Miikka Kiprusoff wore, with nearly the same specs--all white with tan nash leather on the boots, simply-strapped, and sporting a Kiprusoff-style "pancake" catch glove, I was stunned by his resemblance to Kiprusoff in both form and function.

According to NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale, the Flames witnessed a Kiprusoff-like performance from Ramo, who pitched a 31-save shutout against an incredibly desperate team:

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  Tags: calgary+flames, columbus+blue+jackets, jaromir+jagr, new+jersey+devils, pete+deboer

Bruins’ Jeremy Jacobs, Blue Jackets’ John Davidson join owners’ anti-Olympic-participation brigade

I guess I'd hoped for too much in expecting the NHL's Board of Governors to at least not chime in yet again regarding certain members' disdain for NHL Olympic participation until the games had ended, especially given Ed Snider's vociferous opposition just prior to the Olympic break.

On the eve of the gold medal game, the chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors, Boston Bruins, Jeremy Jacobs, sent an email to the New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel regarding the NHL's participation in the Olympics, suggesting that the NHL might not want to participate in the 2018 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea:

In an email, Jacobs wrote, “I know the importance of competing in the Olympics to many of our players — they are our partners and if it is important to them it should be important to us.”

Jacobs listed four main areas of concerns for the owners: shutting the league down for more than two weeks and its effect on fans and corporate partners; the risk of injury to the top players; mental and physical fatigue among those players; and the compressed schedule and “the challenges it creates for the buildings.”

He concluded, “While these issues exist, balancing them with all of the good that comes with our participation in the Games is a difficult task — one that we will have to continue to explore with our partners over the coming years.”

Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson also told Klein that he's not a fan of the concept:

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  Tags: boston+bruins, columbus+blue+jackets, jeremy+jacobs, john+davidson

Blue Jackets Send Filatov Down to the AHL

from the Columbus Blue Jackets:

The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned forward Nikita Filatov to the Springfield Falcons, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, Blue Jackets Executive Vice President and General Manager Scott Howson announced today.  The club also announced that forward Tom Sestito has been recalled from Springfield.

Filatov, 20, has collected seven assists and eight penalty minutes with a +3 plus/minus rating in 23 games with Columbus this season.  He has registered 6-7-13, 16 penalty minutes and is +6 in 44 career NHL games over the past three seasons with the Blue Jackets.  The club’s first pick, sixth overall, in the 2008 Entry Draft, Filatov collected 16-16-32 and 24 penalty minutes in 39 AHL games with the Syracuse Crunch in 2008-09.  He split last season between Columbus and KHL’s CSKA.

Sestito, 23, has tallied six goals and 11 assists for 17 points with 81 penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating in 17 games with Springfield this season, leading the club in penalty minutes and tying for second in assists and third in points.  He has picked up 24 penalty minutes in four career NHL games with the Blue Jackets, including seven penalty minutes in three games in 2009-10.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, nikita+filatov, tom+sestito

Could Columbus Get…

from Puck-rakers,

One third of the way into the season, trade rumors and other forms of player movement seem to be picking up. Blue Jackets fans—a few of them, anyway—are clamoring for GM Scott Howson to make a move.

Our opinion: Read the play and show a little patience, as the best deals may be a couple of weeks (or months) away.

continued... Lecavlier, Jokinen and Stoll talk plus a little Recchi…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, trade+rumors

All Fedorov

from Hockey Adventure,

HockeyAdventure.com: How about you? You’re unrestricted at the end of the year. How much longer would you like to play?

Sergei Fedorov: I don’t know. Hopefully a couple more years.

HockeyAdventure.com: Still hungry?

Sergei Fedorov: Yeah, I still love the game. I like the challenges and the communication with the younger guys. Obviously they have quite a few questions about what’s going on. It’s still fun for me.

more Q & A with Sergei…

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, sergei+fedorov

Line Of The Day

from Puck-rakers,

Hitchcock was asked if he was planning to “go with Malarchuk” tonight against the Canucks:

“Hey, he wasn’t bad for a guy in the 1970s. I don’t think you’ll see him (Thursday night). It was hard enough to get him out there for practice. He kept holding out for a better deal. We didn’t get it done until right before practice.”

more

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  Tags: clint+malarchuk, columbus+blue+jackets, ken+hitchcock

MacLean Still On The Mind Of Columbus

from Puck-rakers,

Now, it’s highly unlikely the deal in Tampa will go through. It’ll take a minor miracle for it all to get settled and go through before the end of the season. Thus, the Blue Jackets will have to keep on paying MacLean. The remainder they owe is about $450,000.

That money would come in handy right about now if general manager Scott Howson is eagerly working the trade market. Certainly, that would be some nice “play money” at the trade deadline.

A $450,000 chunk doesn’t sound like much. But if a $1.8 million player is acquired at the trade deadline, the salary he’s owed the rest of the season—about 1/4 of the way to go—is roughly $450,000. There are some pretty good $1.8M players out there.

more

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, doug+maclean, scott+howson

Westcott Out With Another Concussion

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets defenseman Duvie Westcott likely suffered yet another concussion Saturday, ruling him out of the club’s short-term plans and calling into question his NHL future.

The news yesterday was not good.

“We’ll wait for the doctors to tell us (what’s next),” general manager Scott Howson said. “But we have been told that he’s symptomatic.”

Detroit’s Niklas Kronvall slammed Westcott into the boards late in the game Saturday in Nationwide Arena.

Westcott’s head did not appear to be struck, but his body was jolted.

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, concussions, duvie+westcott

Nash On The Same Page With Hitchcock

from the Edmonton Journal,

“You can get your workers to buy in every night,” Hitchcock said Monday. “But if you can get your skill guys to buy into that (defence-first system), that’s how you win.”

Nash readily admits he and his teammates have bought Hitchcock’s system, the one that drove sniper Brett Hull to distraction when he played under Hitchcock in Dallas.

And Hitchcock noted that, apart from his own tutelage, his charges have an ongoing living lab in how to play sound defence sitting right there atop the Central Division - the Detroit Red Wings.

“They’re the gold standard,” Hitchcock said of the Wings’ textbook all-around game. “(Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg - they all check.”

more

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, ken+hitchcock, rick+nash

Pascal Leclaire Leaves Game In Loss To Edmonton

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Goaltender Pascal Leclaire, whose early career has been dogged by leg injuries, left the game at 5:58 of the second period, complaining of a tight hamstring.

After the game, the Blue Jackets—from coach Ken Hitchcock to Leclaire himself—stressed that the injury was minor, that Leclaire might be out only a brief while, if he missed any time at all.

“We’ll see how it is (today),” Leclaire said. “But I don’t have any sharp pain or anything.

“It’s more like a tweak, but it’s not something I wanted to take a chance on.”

more

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, goalies, pascal+leclaire

Howson In The Right Place

from the Edmonton Journal,

Howson isn’t only a detail man, obviously. He has to paint the big picture for a franchise that has yet to make the NHL playoffs. Where the Jackets are headed and how they will get there depends on Howson as much as it does Hitchcock and the players. Fortunately, coach and GM complement one another.

“His strengths really balance with me. He’s a really patient, big-picture guy who sees things in months and years and I fight the daily fight, like all coaches do,” said Hitchcock. “Because he was a player at all levels, his ability to understand the team mindset at the end of competition is calming for me. You’re able to move past the emotion of the game and that’s important for me….”

more

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, ken+hitchcock, scott+howson

Stay Out Of Hitch’s Way

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Hitchcock ambled in with a smirk-smile on his face and a massive monkey wrench in his belt. The cast-iron wrench is a good tool. It can twist a nut. It works as a hammer or a back scratcher. Sometimes, it’s handy just for show.

Hitchcock installed his system. Now, hockey systems can be overrated, as one does not differ much from another. The important thing is consistency, and Hitchcock was consistent: “Do this, do this because it works, and if you do not do this, you will not play.” Then, he held up the monkey wrench.

Critical point: Nobody interfered.

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, ken+hitchcock

Becoming A Team

from the Columbus Dispatch,

“We are very together,” center Sergei Fedorov said earlier this month. “We know each other, we like each other, and we’re playing for each other, and that is not a small, little thing.

“Before you can do anything else in this league, first, you have to be a team.”

Now 20 games into the season, a pretty clear picture of the Blue Jackets has emerged.

more including Columbus could use more scoring…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, sergei+fedorov

Hockey The Way It Was Meant To Be Played

from Puck-rackers,

Conversely, when I watch a game like tonight’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Red Wings, I wonder why hockey isn’t the most popular sport in our country. If this was your first game, you’re coming back Wednesday when they host Florida. You’re considering an apartment in the Arena District, picking out a jersey in the gift shop, firing up Cannon Fodder ...

Why do we watch sports? To see people do things that we can’t. That’s what I’ve always believed, anyway. Last night, that sort of jaw-dropping talent was on full display. You can appreciate it more if you’re in the building, especially in hockey.

more

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Pascal Leclaire Goes To School

from The Lantern,

“Goaltenders by reputation are quirky, to say the least,” Sharrock said. “Pazzy (Leclaire) is the most down-to-earth, I don’t want to say normal, but I will, he’s probably the most normal goaltender that I’ve ever been around.”

Ohio State students in a French 104 class will have the opportunity to see how “normal” Leclaire really is when he visits today from 2-3 p.m. in Hagerty Hall 145.

Leclaire, a native of Repentigny, Quebec, grew up in the French-speaking Canadian province. The visit is an opportunity for the class to get a personal perspective on the people, language and culture of Quebec, one of the French-speaking areas the class is studying.

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, goalies, pascal+leclaire

Open Practice

from the Columbus Dispatch,

The NHL, unlike other major sports leagues, does not have lucrative national television contracts. The Blue Jackets rely heavily on gate receipts and recognize the value of letting fans attend free practices in the Ice Haus adjacent to the arena.

“We’re not in a position to be losing fans,” left winger Rick Nash said.

Fans can learn a lot about the sport, Hitchcock said, by attending practices. Former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Terry Crisp used to run one session a season wearing a microphone to educate the crowd.

“To me, the most fun is watching how a team performs in practice and how the coach yells and how many swear words he uses,” Hitchcock said.

more

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, fans, ken+hitchcock, rick+nash

Fighting Rick Nash

from the Columbus Dispatch,

What was Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock thinking when he saw his best player dropping the gloves with a notorious knucklehead?

“I hope he doesn’t hurt his hand,” Hitchcock said.

And what was Nash thinking?

“It’s part of the game,” Nash said. “He (Vandermeer) threw a couple of cheap shots during the game, a couple of cross-checks. We fought. No big deal. Boller (Jared Boll) and Shell (Jody Shelley) fight all the time.”

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Columbus Needs To “Bring It” Every Night

from the Columbus Dispatch,

The Blue Jackets, despite years of picking high in the draft, have fewer dynamic players than just about any other club in the Western Conference, save Phoenix.

The Blue Jackets can’t beat clubs on autopilot. The only way they can be successful is when they play a high-octane, borderline reckless brand of hockey.

“It’s not enough for us to match the energy of our opponents,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We have to bring more energy than they have. We have to outplay them in that aspect of the game, or we’re going to struggle.”

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, ken+hitchcock

Wings Lose “Soft” Tag

from Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,

Random thoughts on the Blue Jackets’ 4-1 loss to the Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz is right—these Red Wings are no longer soft around the edges. They were every bit as physical as the Blue Jackets. Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Sergei Fedorov absolutely set the tone for the game. Fedorov ended up taking a penalty moments later and the Red Wings scored on the power play.

—All the Red Wings’ goals were the result of hard work in front of the net or the willingness to drive to the net.

more on the Blue Jackets…

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, detroit+red+wings, niklas+kronwall, sergei+fedorov

Measuring Stick Game Tonight For Columbus

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson is still getting a read on the club, measuring strengths and weaknesses.

A game like tonight’s could expose both of those.

“Detroit is the best team in the NHL, probably right there with Ottawa,” Howson said. “You could call it a barometer game for us, absolutely.

“I thought the Anaheim games (earlier this season) were those kind of games, too, and we fared pretty well. But you always want to measure yourself against the best.”

more

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, detroit+red+wings

Jody Shelley Proud Of Columbus Success

from the Columbus Dispatch,

“Driving in some days, you feel like you’re going to go out on the ice and run through the boards,” Shelley said Sunday night as he watched the Jackets play the St. Louis Blues. He was sitting alone in a darkened booth on press row, just below the rafters.

Shelley is—or was—primarily an enforcer. But there are fewer fights in the NHL. There is also a greater importance on special teams, so agitation is a more delicate art. In the Jackets’ case, they have this kid Jared Boll who knows how to irritate, and skate, and hit.

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, jody+shelley

Blue Jackets Getting National Attention

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Melrose credits the structure created by coach Ken Hitchcock, the commitment of the players and the goaltending of Leclaire as the major factors in the Blue Jackets’ turnaround. Several national hockey pundits expressed similar opinions about a team that began yesterday with the NHL’s third-best record.

“I don’t think anyone can truly say they saw this coming,” said Brian Engblom, an analyst for the Versus television network and a former Blue Jackets television color commentator.

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Leclaire Seeing Shots & Stopping Shots

from the STATS Blog,

The Columbus Blue Jackets are the surprise team in the early going, and their goaltender, Pascal Leclaire, has been stellar, posting a league-high five shutouts in his nine starts. It shouldn’t come as a shock that Leclaire, who turns 25 on Wednesday, also ranks first among his peers with a 1.12 goals-against average and .957 save percentage.

In the last 10 days, Leclaire has secured wins despite facing his two highest shot totals of the season. On Oct. 25, he faced a season-high 36 and stopped all of them for a 3-0 win over St. Louis. In Los Angeles on Halloween, Leclaire was 33-for-34 in a 4-1 decision against the Kings. He hasn’t lost when facing 30 shots.

read on for some interesting stats when goalies face a high amount of shots…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, goalies, pascal+leclaire

The “New” Zherdev

from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,

Nash said as much when he was asked about the difference between the 2006 Zherdev and the 2007 model.

“I think the biggest thing is his work ethic,” Nash said. “He’s out there every single shift working 110 percent. And that was a team problem in general, not just him. Last year, a lot of the guys were taking nights off, myself included.”

Zherdev didn’t single-handedly hold the Blue Jackets below their potential, even if he seems to be a glistening example now. While the change in Zherdev’s play seems incredible, it likely started during the summer when Howson and coach Ken Hitchcock made a special trip to Ottawa to meet with Zherdev and his agent, Rollie Hedges.

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Blue Jackets Get A Taste Of Playoff Hockey

from the Columbus Dispatch,

After six NHL seasons, the Blue Jackets might have gotten their first taste of “playoff hockey” Thursday night.

Defenseman Adam Foote, who won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche, knows. So does coach Ken Hitchcock, who guided the Dallas Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup.

“That was playoff hockey,” Foote said. “That right there is as close as you can get in the regular season.

“It’s real good experience for us, especially for some of the younger guys. It’s a different level you have to get to, and we showed we were up for it under some pretty tough circumstances.”

Hitchcock corrected a reporter who asked if he considered the loss a “good” point in the standings.

“No, no,” Hitchcock said. “This is a great point for our hockey club….”

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets

Masked Men In Columbus & LA

from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,

Halloween is a time for masks, right?

That being the case, I guess I should talk about the two masked men who’ll likely face one another Wednesday night in Hollywood.

Those two goaltenders are the Kings’ Jason LaBarbera and the Blue Jackets’ Pascal Leclaire. The Kings bring a four-game winning streak into their meeting with the Jackets, who are on their own three-game roll.

I’ll start with the 24-year-old Leclaire, who might be living up to the billing that led the Jackets to select him with the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft.

continued

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, goalies, los+angeles+kings

Winning The Faceoff

from The Columbus Dispatch,

There seems to be a consensus, however, that faceoffs include ample strategy, gamesmanship and as much cheating as any other facet of the sport.

“I don’t think the average fan understands them,” said Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis, a center who played 23 NHL seasons. “They aren’t glamorous, but people inside the game know how important they are.”

The Blue Jackets, enjoying their best start in franchise history, never have finished higher than 12th in faceoff percentage. Three times in six seasons they ranked in the bottom third of the league.

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Hitchcock Work Ethic Taking Hold

From the Columbus Dispatch,

In crafting a franchise-best 6-3-1 start, the Blue Jackets have shown three traits—three strengths they can count on when the puck drops every night.

1. Playing hard
2. Playing stifling team defense
3. Killing penalties

Continued...

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets

Columbus Improves With Top PK Unit

from the Columbus Dispatch,

The Blue Jackets have allowed three power-play goals this season, and coach Ken Hitchcock remembers all three of them.

“Two of them were a problem with us rotating,” he said, “and the other was a lack of communication on zone entry.”...

“We wanted to create a terrific sense of pride in killing penalties. Never mind giving up goals … we don’t like to give up scoring chances.”

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets

The Other Teams In The Central

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

As (Andy) Murray said, “I thought there was parity there last year, too, between Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis. The only difference is that the parity is at a higher level.”

The three teams were a collective 79-77-21 after their coaching changes last season. They are 15-11-1 this morning. The Central Division is no longer comprised of Detroit, Nashville, Curly, Larry and Moe. The Stooges are gone.

As Hitchcock said, “Somebody has to make the playoffs other than Detroit. Whether you get a second- or a third-place team in the playoffs, it’s going to be somebody.

read on

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, st+louis+blues

Rick Nash Highlight

From Rusty Miller at the AP,

It was the type of move a player usually tries late in a long practice. The right situation presented itself in a game for Columbus’ Rick Nash, however, and it will undoubtedly be a staple on all the highlight shows.

Nash scored in his fifth straight game, this one an almost indescribable goal on a shot between his legs…

Watch the video…

 

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, rick+nash

The Other Team In Columbus

from The Other Paper,

Nash, an alternate captain, spent less than three minutes Sunday answering questions about the Jackets’ ineffective power play. Then the media horde—all seven reporters—moved across the room to see what team captain Adam Foote had to say.

In contrast, just three miles or so to the north, five times that number of reporters gather for comments from Ohio State’s quarterback every week. In fact, more reporters gang up on OSU’s third-string running back than on Nash at home games.

Playing hockey in Columbus is no way to become a celebrity. If Nash were playing in Canada, there’s no doubt he’d have fame to match his $5.5 million salary. It’s common for 30 TV cameras to crowd into Air Canada Centre in Toronto after Maple Leafs games.

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Hitchcock & “The Boss”

from Adam Kimelman at NHL.com,

Hitchcock did catch a Springsteen show at the United Center in Chicago on Oct. 22, so he was able to scratch that itch, but it was a chance meeting a few years ago in Philadelphia that turned Hitchcock into a fan of the New Jersey-born singer-songwriter.

Thanks to a friendship between Flyers equipment manager Anthony “Rock” Oratorio and a guitar technician who was part of Springsteen’s tour group, Hitchcock was able to attend a Springsteen sound check the day of a show at Lincoln Financial Field.

read on

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets

Columbus Beats Chicago - All Impressed By Kane

from Puck-rakers, a Blue Jackets blog at the Columbus Dispatch,

Hitchcock on Kane: “(The coaching staff) was trying to figure out a player you could compare him to. We haven’t found the right guy yet. If you’re sitting here in Chicago, a hockey fan, you’ve got to be thinking that you’ve got a chance over the next 10 or 15 years to watch this guy play hockey. He has an ability like very few players.”

Michael Peca on Kane: “I think he’s dynamite. He’s got that nose for the puck. I love watching guys like that. I know he was No. 1 overall and there are a lot of expectations. But a lot of people like to knock the little guys. I’d take his skill over the size of some guys in this league. He’s going to be a 100-point guy year after year after year.”

more on the Blue Jackets

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, michael+peca, patrick+kane

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