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They Once Played In Columbus, Now They Are Talking

from Aaron Portzline of The Athletic,

We asked them about their perception of Columbus as a city, why they think the Blue Jackets keep losing players, what it’s like to play for coach John Tortorella, what it’s like to negotiate with the Blue Jackets, and what they’d change if they were running the club.

We had several stipulations to these interviews:

  • the players would be granted full anonymity so that they could speak freely
  • the players must have played in Columbus during the Kekalainen/Tortorella era
  • the players needed to have played in multiple other cities during established NHL careers
  • the players must have left the organization on good terms, with no ax to grind and no agendas

Two players we asked to participate politely declined. Three others agreed to talk, with the promise that their comments would be only lightly edited to avoid revealing their identities....

What are your thoughts on how/why the Blue Jackets keep losing top players, either to free agency or forced trades?

Player 2: Young kids would rather get drafted somewhere else. Maybe this is overgeneralizing, but a lot of the younger guys want to go where they’re rock stars — Toronto, New York, Boston. They want to go hang out with hot chicks in Miami and Arizona and L.A. They want to try to wheel girls in Montreal. That’s what they want to do. So there has to be some other draw that Columbus has, right? There has to be something else. “We have a great team and a great culture and we’ll pay you.” Or, “We really value this (aspect) in you and we want you to stay and we’ll make sure you stay no matter what the cost.”

When we talked contract it was, “Where do you want to be?” And we said “X” amount, they immediately said, “Nope, no chance.” And we were like, “Well, that’s where we’re at and there are like six other teams willing to go there.” They expected me to give up a ton of money to play there, like they were the only team in the league.

more (paid) and a recommended read, the little blurb I posted doesn't due justice...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink


shazam88's avatar

Happy Monday, Paul.

What’s up with the extremely faint font for this particular post? I’ve seen that occurring a few times a week lately. Shows up this way on several different browsers.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 05/03/21 at 11:34 AM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

As someone who hates the city of Columbus with a passion this is most likely unhealthy, I’ll stick to this: the Athletic is the best publication out there and it’s not even close.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 05/03/21 at 11:37 AM ET

Paul's avatar

shaz, try now.  It has been an issue with dark mode on chrome os, it is copying it then when I insert it it picks up dark mode colors.  Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t so I am going to change a few things around.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/03/21 at 11:55 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

Ah gotcha. It’s all good now, Paul.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 05/03/21 at 12:24 PM ET

Kaszycki and his Krew's avatar

You could have written this article about the Islanders from 1999-2015 or so.  It comes down to will to win and commitment to winning.  Charles Wang wanted to win - but he wanted to win using his buddies instead of hiring the best professionals. 

We used to get told by UFA"s they did not sign with Long Island because of the building - to see them sign up with Detroit who played in a building that was just slightly better.  (i.e. - it was not because of the building)

I think Columbus has to do some soul searching and decide if it wants to win or not.  Overpaying for free agents is not the recipe for success (Look at the UFA class of 2016 for that)  Draft and trade wisely.  Use your cap space to invest in players like Seth Jones - and re-up the best and keep them there.  Start winning and players will fall over themselves to want to play for a team that can win it all.  I agree that certain teams seem to have an advantage - like Panarin signing with an inferior team just to play on Broadway for example)  and FLA teams will have tax advantages - but players will want to play where they will win - and any player who you would WANT to have on your team - that should be the reason to get them. 

The Red Wings during the Yzerman and Lidstrom eras had no problem attracting talent - and for you folks - hope it gets back there soon!

Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 05/03/21 at 01:27 PM ET

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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.

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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