That dive is insane! What also is insane is Allen York righ now! Wow, is he playing well!
I apologize for being brief in this game recap -- but I'm heading to St. Louis tomorrow with 7 other Jacket Backers faithful so it will be an early mornin!
1. The game was won in the first period when the Jackets killed of that extended 5 on 3. In this league, you live/die by goaltending and York was a perfect example of this on that kill. He was fantastic. He stopped 30 of 31 shots to earn his second victory. I have stated this many times, but where would this team be if they had just average goaltending?
2. With the win this Jackets team has surpased the the 57 point mark. That is significant because this version of the Jackets is no longer in danger of being the worst Jackets team in franchise history. The question now becomes will they be the 2nd worst? They have 4 games to beat the 62 point mark set back in 2003-2004 season.
3. Nikita Nikitin playing out of his mind right now. He notched 2 goals and 1 helper in 24:50 of ice time which was good for the team lead. He also had 5 shots, 1 take away, was a +1 and 2 blocks. He now has 31 points in 50 games for the Blue Jackets. While collectively all of Howson's deals haven't lead to many wins -- individually, moving Russsel for Nikitin looks like a very good deal for Howson. Will be interesting to see what happens in terms of his contract in the offseason.
4. Couple of points over the past two games. 1 - I've like the Jackets job of transition of late. Umberger's breakout pass up to Atkinson that sprung him for a mini-breakaway was a perfect example. 2 - the Jackets did an EXCELLENT job of protecting the lead in the game. What impressed me the most were the forwards getting back to help their defense. Mark Letestu specifically comes to mind.
5. Have I mentioned yet how much I appreciate Derek Dorsett? Love this guy but damn, he could get murdered before he actually draws a penalty. I have NO IDEA how he can get man handled in front of the crease like he did and not draw a penalty? Clearly it's because of his reputation in this league and amount of penalty minutes. He keep on battling though.
6. Are we finally starting to see what Ryan Johansen can bring to the table? He played well in Detroit and played very well again tonight. We are seeing some speed that just wasn't there earlier. Perhaps the light is going off and he is finding his game at this level. Now to see, like the rest of this team, if he can bring it when the games mean something. In the mean time, check out this promotion of Johansen that I saw today at Giant Eagle off 23 North:
Anyone else notice how much Rick Nash has been minimized in Jackets promotions? Johansen pic above is an example. The bluejackets.com splash page recently has Dorsett on it. Wasn't at the game tonight but heard the Chill reunion was fantastic! Vinny Prospal cracked the 50 point mark in this game. 18k in the house -- the Chill deal and all you can eat packs em in! Good to see the good guys put on a show for a big crowd! Great give go with Brass and Umberger. Jeff Carter is out for the season with an ankle injury -- couldn't happen to a nice go (sorry Chris!). Nice to see Gillies at least have a reaction after Boll was drilled by Gudbransen. Nikitin was so close to hatty which got me thinkin - would that have been the Jackets first dman with one? Off memory -- I don't think so as I believe Bryan Berard accomplished it (need to look it up!). LA won tonight which vaulted them into 3rd in the Western Conference. Springfield, on the other hand, lost and they now sit all the way down in 13th which is 5 points out of a playoff spot.
As mentioned, the Jackets are in St. Lous tomorrow night. I may hate the direction but I still love this team and will be heading out bright an early to take this one in live with some fellow Jacket Backers. I'll be tweeting out some pics so be sure to follow @lightthelamp to catch em!
Pierre Gautheir: 84-71-26 (2 1/2 years, 2 playoff appearances)
Scott Howson: 166-182-57 (5 years, 1 playoff appearance)
Now if you didn't know any better, which one of those do you think would have been fired today?
Pierre Gauthier's tenure as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens is over, as Canadiens owner and team president Geoff Molson announced on Thursday that the club has relieved him of his duties.
"We need to remember that our fans want us to win, period," Molson told reporters at the team's practice facility in Brossard. "Our organizational culture is to support and adopt this passion for victory. Nothing else matters."
The club also parted ways with former general manager Bob Gainey, who was working as Special Advisor to the General Manager. Former Canadiens player and general manager Serge Savard returns to the team in an advisory role and will assist with the search for a new GM.
Larry Carriere, who was Gauthier's assistant GM for the last two seasons, has stepped down as assistant coach to Randy Cunneyworth and will return to his front office role full time until a new general manager is named.
The Canadiens are last in the Eastern Conference with a 29-34-14 record and were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday. "Everyone in this organization, including our players, expected better," Molson said.
Ladies and gentlemen - please read and then re-read that bolded quote from Montreal's owner.
Gauthier has been Montreal's GM since February 8th, 2010. Over his first two years the Canadiens made playoffs and got as far as the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009-2010. He was fired today after just ONE losing season.
Do you want to know why organizations like Montreal don't have fan protests or F.A.N.S. movements -- it's because they don't have to. Those organizations have expectations and accountability from ownership down. And when those who are responsible for meeting and exceeding those expectations do not deliver they are held accountable at the highest levels.
You know what I don't hear coming from Montreal? Excuses.
Montreal will not put up with ONE losing season without consequences. Here in Columbus, it's year 5 for Priest/Howson, we are guaranteed a top 2 pick, our star player wants out, we've been through 4 coaches and countless players, they spent 62+ million in payroll and how does our owner react? He says jobs are safe.
I'm sure some folks are saying -- "Well, it's Montreal. They are a hockey town".
Well why can't we expect that here? Why can't we think like a hockey town? Right now we think like a minor league operation. Celebrating All Star games and autographed pucks instead of playoff wins and Stanley Cups. We are content with just being in the league. That is not good enough.
It's way past time to do the right thing and give this thing the fresh start is so desperately requires. Now is the time.
With a decisive 4-2 win over the Wings at home, the Jackets completely reversed their performance from just two short nights ago when they were pounded 7-3 by that same Wings team. It was a great performance filled with some unusual story lines that was worthy of some perfect 10s!
1. Congrats to Allen York on his first NHL win and congrats to Shawn Hunwick on his first NHL game! When I first heard that Mason was out and York was in as the starter -- I thought, get ready for the turkey shoot! Then I thought, all we are really doing is trading one ECHL goalie for another -- can it get any worse? The potential was there for sure but York held up very well under the pressure stopping 29 of 31 shots. The only two to get buy him were both PP goals. As for Hunwick-- it's a sad state of affairs overall for the franchise when your depth is so shallow that you have to go out and sign a kid who just finished his collegiate career to a 1 day contract to back up your 4th string starting goaltender -- but it does make for a good story. That pic of him in a Blue Jackets jersey but with Michigan pads/helmet are usually reserved for us photoshop fanboys to dream up!
2. This season may be a nightmare but it always brings a warm smile to my face when we beat the Detroit Red Wings. The Jackets as a team certainly stepped up their game while the Wings thought they could sleep walk to another victory. The Wings were cheating all over the ice and it was great to see the Jackets take advantage of their opportunities. All the Jackets goals came at even strength -- hence the Jackets being a +20 and the Wings a -20. Loved Dorsett's hands on mini breakaway. The pass from Nikitin up to Brass was beautiful (and looked offsides but I'll take it!). Good to see Prospal get back on the board. Overall I just liked how the Jackets battled through 60 minutes and when the Wings' turned up the heat in the 3rd (they had 18 shots in that period) they bent but didn't break.
3. Derek Dorsett has been one of the very few bright spots this season. He scored a beautiful goal last night and in the process, tied his career high in points with 17. He also leads the league in penalty minutes! I've done a lot of bitching this season about management and players -- but I want to take a moment to say thanks to Derek Dorsett! Thanks for not giving up! Thanks for continuing to fight on! Thanks for having pride in the jersey! Thanks for giving a shit! ...and thanks for the most bad ass grandma on the planet! As a fan, I'm very proud to call Derek Dorsett a Blue Jacket as he represents exactly what I feel we need more of on this team.
4. Apparently, during the pre-game show on NBC Sports Network, Mike Milbury ripped the franchise a new ass. A few years back I would have been upset about that - but not now. Milbury is saying exactly what many of us have been saying. He is saying what damn near everyone outside of the upper management circle in Nationwideis saying -- that overall this franchise is a joke. I'm gonna try to find a video of this and if I do, I'll post it here.
5. With the win the Jackets now have 57 points. They are now tied with their worst overall points mark set back in the 2001-2002 season. It looks very likely that this 62 million dollar squad will avoid becoming the worst team in franchise history. That is good... I guess?
6. My favorite pic from last night's game:
I don't have the numbers to prove it -- but doesn't it seem like we always play well and win when televised nationally? Don't look now but John Moore is now a -23! Ouch. He's not the worst Jacket however -- that distinction belongs to Derek Brassard who is a -25 which is tied for 2nd worst in the league. Milan Jurcina is a league worst -33. Yikes! Jack Johnson with a whopping 32:15 in ice time last night including 5+ mins on the PP and 4+ mins on the PK. If he wanted to be the man, he's got his wish! In 16 games for the CBJ he's got 3g, 7a for 10p and is a +1. Even though he only had an assist, I liked Rick Nash's overall game in this one. Notice how Babcock called a TO after just 2 Jackets goals? It took Richards what, 4 or 5 goals to call a TO in Detroit? One word - expectations. Both Dorsett and Nikitin are having career years -- what should also be pointed out is that both have contracts that expire after this season. I love the way both Dorsett and Nikitin have played but this team has been burnt bad by handing out long term extensions after career seasons. I wouldn't hesitate giving Dorsett a multiple year deal b/c I'm sold on his character, age and production -- but I'd be very cautious with Nikitin. I'd like to see him duplicate this year before talking long term extension. Taking advantage of the fact they are RFAs. When it comes to the playoffs, it's not really who I root for more than who I root against. Would love to see the Wings eliminated in that first round and I hope it's the Preds that do it! Kings won which puts them in 7th place -- that is good news for an additional first round pick. Only 12k in attendance -- I'd say damn near half of those were Wings' fans. Overall attendance has to be an all time low for a Jackets/Wings game at Nationwide.
Next up is a team that ownership should be a taking a good hard look at -- the Florida Panthers. You know the perennial basement dweller that finally gutted their front office two years ago and is now in the playoff picture!
Here is the latest email from F.A.N.S.:
The last two games have been huge disappointments for Jackets fans. Our team is officially the worst in the NHL for 2011-12. Yet, to this point, there are no signs that the changes this team so desperately needs are coming.
That's why we need your help to get over the 1,000 signature mark this week. With games Wednesday and Friday, we need as many volunteers as possible to get signtaures on the petition to remove Mike Priest and Scott Howson as President and GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets before and after the games.
We're also enlisting all of you and anyone else you may know who is a Jackets fan. Attached you will find the petition form that we are using. Have any Jackets fans you know who might be interested sign the petition in your spare time. Then simply mail it to the following address:
5621 Wigmore Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43235
We'll take care of the rest.
Finally, since the supply of neon green poster board we had was limited, we've made a very simple sign to show your support for the removal of Mr. Priest and Mr. Howson, which we've also attached. Bring a few to upcoming games. All you have to do is print it out on a color printer. Please always remember that while being visible is important, it is also important to be respectful of your fellow fans.
If 20 Miami Dolphins fans can get their owner's attention, certainly over 1,000 Jackets fans can get the attention of their's!
For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)
Finally, if you really get creative -- just make your own shirt like Deanna did here:
I'm gonna let the fans still posting about this team write the recap after this 7-2 ass kicking by the Wings. Here are my top 12 posts in no particular order from their game day thread:
1. I'm waiting for Bono to do a fundraiser for us...
2. Yep, we're on NBCSN Wednesday.
Davidge: "They'd like to have THAT one back!"
3. I wonder if Tim Tebow can play goalie?
4. Hopefully JPM realizes how ****ing terrible this team is and ****ing fires howsons ass. Too bad we all know that wont happen.
5. They shoot horses don't they...so why not us?
6. Even though most of these goals are not Mason's fault.... There has been 9 goals scored in 1 1/2 periods on Mason.
7. This is what happens, when you have "smart, learning people" in upper management positions, instead of true, real hockey minds. Up to you JPM to put us out of our misery, fire priest/howson.
8. Mason resembles his new mask. Dead man goaltending.
9. I've probably made this comment 100 times in the last 11 years, but..........................................
Jackets have reached a new low.........................
10. FORE!!!!!!!!! This is what happens when you have a Cup contender playing an AHL team that has post-season golf on its mind.
11. I don't know that I've ever seen the CBJ as thoroughly whipped as this.
And that's really saying something.
12. This is like a Globetrotters exhibition.
Honorable mention from text via buddy: Goalie is getting a sunburn from that red light going off.
I want to hear what Rimer/Davidge say off the air during a game like this! I kinda like Mason's new mask... didn't scare away any goals however. Saw a couple of Jackets fans tough it out towards the front row -- good for you guys. I'm sure I'll suffer through somethin similar in St. Louis this Satuday. We got 2 goals in garbage time -- keep the band together! The more important question - was that Rick Nash's last goal in a Jacket uni? With the 30th spot all locked up the next question is -- can the Jackets top their 2001-2002 record of 57 points? They sit with 55 with 6 to go. What is Todd Richards' record now? Ah, who cares.
Thanks for the entertainment tonight HF posters! I think we can all use the laughs!
Next up are the Jackets at home versus Detroit on the NBC Sports Network. Don't forget to wear your neon green!
You know what excuse I am so sick and tired of hearing regarding the Jackets' failures this season?
Right now, according to this link, the Jackets are 10th in league in man games lost to injury. The teams below them? Tampa, St. Louis, Buffalo, Vancouver, Philly, Minnesota, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Calgary. Six of those teams are either in the playoffs or are fighting for them!
Injuries are not an excuse because here's a reality check -- the Jackets are going to face injuries next season, the season after that and the season after that. The game of hockey is a contact sport and injuries will take their toll -- some seasons will be worst than others. It happens to evey team every season.
Bottom line is the age old cliche -- excuses are for losers. To a perennial loser like the Jackets - they embrace anything that can deflect the blame. To winners like Philly and Pittsburgh -- there are no excuses for losing.
Really interesting read here from the Edmonton Sun titled "You Can't Draft Goalies And Neither Can Anyone Else":
NHL scouts are typically pretty good at identifying the best forwards in a given draft. Of the NHL’s top-30 scorers as of this writing, 22 of them (73.3%) were taken in the first 30 picks at the NHL Entry Draft. 26 of the 30 were taken before the endof the second round (86.7%); 27 of 30 were taken in the first 100 picks (90.0%). Only three of those players – the undrafted Martin St. Louis, and late-round picks P-A Parenteau and Matt Moulson – weren’t identified by scouts as a priority at the draft. The odds are really, really good that if you’re a premiere scorer at the NHL level, scouts saw you coming at a young age. Naturally, there are exceptions; we’re all aware of the three guys above, as well as the Datsyuks and Zetterbergs of the world, but for the most part the rule stays true.
When it comes to goalies, however, professional scouts do a terrible job of identifying talent. Sure, sometimes first round picks work out – eight of the league’s 30 most used goalies (26.7%) were drafted in the first round. Guys like Marc-Andre Fleury (1st overall), Kari Lehtonen (2nd overall), Roberto Luongo (4th overall) and Carey Price (5th overall) turned into the talents that the scouts thought they would. However, a lot of the league’s elite goalies were missed completely by the scouts.
The solution is this: never waste a first-round pick on a goalie. If possible, never waste a top-100 pick on a goalie – because that’s the only place where teams can reliably get good forwards. Instead, draft guys late – take a guy like Tyler Bunz or Olivier Roy after the 100th overall pick. Take one every year just to keep a bunch of these long-shots in the system, then watch and wait; if they turn out, great, if they don’t, no loss. Then augment those draft picks with older, undrafted players – sure, they’ll probably turn out to be Jonas Gustavsson instead of Niklas Backstrom, but there’s no way of knowing and the cost is awfully low. Regardless, the chances of hitting the jackpot aren’t much worse with a late pick or an undrafted free agent signing than they would be with an early selection.
Couldn't agree with this more. They also have a list of goalies most used this season and where they were drafted.
The draft lottery has been set to April 10th at 7 p.m. Start eating those lucky charms as it's just over 15 days away!
Lots of chatter about some post game tweets from some Jackets players after yet another embarrassing loss at home last night. Here were some of the tweets:
Brassard - @commie22 hey Wayne hows the golf game going down there????
Methot - Tiger Woods. #nuffsaid
Brassard - Its Nice to see #Tiger win that tournament!! Good for him !! #hesback
Umberger - Cant wait for the masters!! RT @dbrassard16: Its Nice to see #Tiger win that tournament!! Good for him !! #hesback
I get that these guys have lives outside of hockey. I get that this season has been over. I get why some fans think it's no big deal. I also get why this would irritate some fans who once again spent their time and money to watch this Easter Bunny lay yet another egg.
Here is an interesting story told to me by a trusted source in St. Louis. I don't have the Dispatch or TSN behind me so, like the All Star game stuff, believe what you will. Do you know that David Backes would not allow any talk of plans/vacations/etc in the Blues' locker room prior to the All Star game break? Absolutely no distractions would be tolerated. All of the focus was on the job at hand. It is players policing players.
Blind homerism aside -- does anyone honestly think that happens in the Jackets' locker room at any point of the season? Is it really an accident we have been this bad for this long? This is why fans get pissed. Whether it was a harmless tweet or not, whether they really practiced hard or not, or if they are really playing for pride or not --- the perception after years and years of losing is that this organization from management right on down to the players is they just do not give a damn.
I share many of those same perceptions and IMO, nobody can blame any fan for feeling this way. You want the fans to give you the benefit of the doubt -- then earn that trust.
Check out this text I received from my buddy Shane last night:
Here's a disturbing little fact I stumbled upon: according to Forbes, exactly 10 years ago, the CBJ were ranked 14 of 30 on the list of most valuable franchises. Today, we're 28th. We're ahead of only the Coyotes and Islanders. And when I googled "most stable NHL franchises", the top hit? Nashville. Might be time for CBJ management to take a page from the book of people who have made things work VERY well.
After my reply of "interesting" he followed that up with this...
Yeah. Pretty amazing. Nashville's monetary value is 25th on the list, I think, but imagine if the Jackets were as successful as the Preds... This town would be hockey crazy.
I've been bangin the Paul Fenton (Nashville Ass. GM) drum for a while now but unfortunately for us, the Preds' smartly extended both he and Polie. I would have to think Nashville would let him interview with other franchises in the offseason if it meant a shot at a GM job. #failforFenton
They both have Nail to the CBJ and d-man Murray to the Oil at #2.
Quebec city just approved plans to build a 400 million dollar arena. The next question is will a team be relocated there or will the NHL expand? My guess is Phoenix is relocated to Quebec and Winnipeg is moved to the West for next season.
It can happen that fast.
Finally - here is a nice review of Nationwide Arena courtesy of the guys from StadiumJourney.com. Great read and more proof that if there is one thing this franchise has done right from the start -- it's the beautiful arena and district!
I think I would rather get hit by one of those old time cars while being forced to watch Twilight than sit through this game again. My that was some ugly hockey.
1. Let's start with the good news. As Hitch Rules immediately pointed out to me post game -- with that loss the Jackets are now guaranteed a top 2 pick in this year's draft. They could win their remaining 7 games but since both Edmonton and Montreal are 16 points ahead of them -- there is no mathematical way they could catch them. If there is one thing this franchise has finally done right, it's finish dead last in yet another when their playoff hopes were dashed by November. They will have a 48.2% chance to win the lottery a day or two after the regular season ends. Now what they do with that top 2 pick is anyone's guess.
2. Jackets smoked again by the 2nd worst team in the league -- this time at home. Truth is the Oil didn't even play that well either but they kept throwing shots at Mason and garbage started to go in. In the 3rd they let off the gas they barely pushed in the first place and just coasted to a win. This Jackets team seems so far away from being competitive at this point -- I just cannot see how ownership will let Priest/Howson reconstruct this thing. Here is the part that is the scariest about this entire thing -- apathy. I've been here from the start and this is the highest level of fan apathy I have ever seen. It's off the charts bad. Even the die hards are tuning this nightmare out. How do you restore hope? Everyone but ownership seems to understand what has to be done.
3. If there is one thing I say about Steve Mason is that he's gone from having 5 off games in a row to an on again off again rotation. Tonight he was "off again". Got to have that VandeVelde stop. Got to stop Smid's shot from the point. Can't let Ben Eager score on you. Now the Jackets defense didn't do him many favors but as we've seen time and time again this year, soft goals completely deflate this team.
4. Somehow John Moore finished a +1. He was the only Jacket to do so. Granted he only played 10:51. Jack Johnson and Derek Dorsett were both -4s.
5. Got to wonder after every time Nash scores, will it be his last in a CBJ sweater? With only 3 home games left you just never know.
6. Here are a couple of pics from tonight's game sent in by the Blue Hair Guy:
Jackets are still 2 points away from tying their worst record in history. The Jackets blew it this year. Ohio State hockey had an epic second half melt down. Now Springfield is trying to join em -- they gave up 3 unanswered goals in the 3rd to lose to W-B/Scranton 5-3 today. For what it's worth - they did win 58% of their draws. Check out this thread to get fan reaction from around the league to the Jackets clinching the league's worst record. In honor of putting an exclamation point on being the biggest laughing stock in the NHL this season -- enjoy this vid of the national anthems of the US and Canada being sung in Ottawa last night:
Hahah.... Wow... And here I thought I appreciated Leo before...
Boys back at it tomorrow night @ Detroit.
Before I get to the pic, apologies for no game recap from the Carolina game. The host of this blog, Bloguin, did a server migration this weekend and we were told to hold off posting on Saturday until the migration was complete.
As for that pic -- I spotted that big Stinger in his own seat from across the arena and had to make my over to snap a shot. I always see those sold in the blueline but hadn't seen anyone fork over the 3 hundo to get one! I was told by the family/friends of the gentlemen pictured above that the Stinger was bought for his kids. And then that quickly followed with -- it's really for him, the kids are just an excuse!
As a big kid myself, I completely get it!
Now for that plush life sized Boomer <insert joke here>.
As for the Carolina game, I asked what everyone else was asking --- where has that RJ been all season? It was a solid win and I give a lot of credit to Steve Mason who played an excellent first 20. Carolina out played them but Mason kept them in it and gave them a chance to find their game and then off they went.
With a win against Edmonton today the Jackets will tie their previous worst season point total of 57 points set back in 2001-2002.
One thing we don't have to worry about is a 4 point swing against Edmonton having any kind of impact on the Jackets finishing last in the standings. They are 14 points behind Edmonton with just 8 games to go. The more interesting race to watch is 29th through 26th. Edmonton, Montreal, Islanders and Minnesota are separated by just 3 points.
Yakupov and Galchenyuk did indeed playing in both of Sarnia's playoff games over the weekend. Galchenyuk has a goal and an assist in while Yakupov has a goal and two helpers.
Here is a vid of Galchenyuk's goal from this first game back:
Springfield is 1-1 on the weekend so far. They'll play their 3rd game in as many nights tonight against W-B/Scranton. They currently sit in 9th with 68 points which is 3 points back of 8th placed Syracuse. Like the NHL the top 8 in each conference makes the playoffs. There are 5 teams right below them with 67 points. So when we I say every point means something, it really does for the Falcons right now.
Some good news on the Yakupov and Galchenyuk front -- according ot Bob MacKenzie's twitter both will play for Sarnia in the playoffs:
Draft prospects Nail Yakupov (concussion/shoulder) and Alex Galchenyuk (bicep) are healthy and will be in Sarnia playoff lineup Fri nite.
Who knows what the CBJ "braintrust" is really thinking regarding these two but I for one, will be following how these two perform closely. If only we could watch live!
Here is an interesting comment via the JacketsFANS blog (who got it via a commenter on the Dispatch):
Agents are evil incarnate. Whoever ends up being your top pick in the draft this year will be represented by Satan, himself. If you were the Devil, would you let your top client sign with this team? No way. There isn't a more damning indictment of an organization, or it's top people, when a first rounder says, "No thanks." It isn't hard to imagine, an agent forbidding his client to accompany your GM on stage, refusing to adorn the Blue Jacket jersey (yeah, I said jersey, sweaters are for Canadians) and cap, right there on national television. How humiliating. Of course, if you're blissfully unaware, what you don't know won't hurt you. Are you paying attention, McConnell? If you aren't, you better believe you're going to suffer some public humiliation, like you haven't before. Imagine your first round pick and his agent reading a public statement that indicates they will do anything, anything rather than sign with the Blue Jackets. Believe it. Then ask yourself this, "If Scott Howson and Mike Priest weren't the President and GM for the Blue Jackets, would they likely be filling those positions in other organizations?" No one wants your top two employees. Isn't that a good indicator that you have the wrong people at the top? Don't you think that's common knowledge? Don't you think that is hurting, and will continue to hurt this organization? There are more Jeff Carter's in this league, than Jack Johnson's. Considering the Blue Jackets rapidly approaching future, (draft picks, trades and free agents) and your administration's ability to deal with it, don't you think it's time to restore some respectability to the front office?"
Everyone knows my feelings about management but he does bring up a good point about Yakupov. At what point does a high profile player and his agent put their foot down and say my client will not play for you? It doesn't happen often and the last high profile guy that comes to mind is Eric Lindros. But it does make you wonder "what if?".
Here is another "what if" scenario. What if the Yakupov camp has already put the word out within NHL circles that if the Jackets draft him he will hold out? Maybe that is fueling the Jackets exploration of dealing that first round pick?
On the flip side - this team does need more Jack Johnson types. It could be the Jackets who are being proactive and making sure that whomever they draft will at the very least, compete his tail off for this team and want to be part of the solution.
I wish I could just say, hey, these guys know what they are doing and will make the best decision for this organization. But that just isn't reality at this stage.
More on drafting Russians via Elliot Friedman:
They seem unrelated, but there is a link between Alexander Radulov's impending return to the NHL and reports that both the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets will consider trading their (high) first-round draft picks.
"Generally, if a Russian came to North America to play his junior hockey, you believed he wanted to play in the NHL," one general manager said last weekend. "That is a big commitment, but Radulov's situation has changed all that."
Radulov was 18 years old in 2004 when he joined Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts. By all accounts, he loved playing for the Hall of Famer and thrived under Roy's guidance. Radulov was named the most valuable player in the 2006 Memorial Cup, the maraschino cherry on a season in which he had 207 points in 85 QMJHL games, including playoffs.
Radulov was so good, so quickly that the normally patient Nashville Predators had no choice but to call him up after 11 AHL games. By now, you know the rest of the story. In 2008, with one year remaining on his entry-level contract, Radulov bolted for the KHL. (It's very difficult to confirm this, but a few NHL sources believe Radulov was paid in the neighbourhood of $5.5 million US this season. The remaining year on his NHL salary was worth under $1 million US, excluding bonuses).
While a number of NHL GMs are disgusted that he's being allowed to "beat the system" and burn that "year" in about 10 games (especially if he returns to Russia next year), they're also wondering what it means for the NHL draft. Three of the highest-rated prospects -- Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk and Mikhail Grigorenko -- are Russians who play in the CHL.
These are three extremely gifted players. Galchenyuk, who was born in Milwaukee as his father played minor-league hockey there, has been hurt much of the season. Yakupov is battling a concussion, but he and Grigorenko seem the consensus 1-2 selections.
It's hard not to write about this stuff without sounding like Senator Joseph McCarthy, but there are a few major concerns for NHL teams.
Radulov isn't the only example. Two other terrific youngsters, Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals) and Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues), are the gorgeous cheerleaders toying with prospective dates for the prom. They are proof that if a player does go to the KHL, it is excruciatingly difficult to get him back. What happens, for example, if there's a lockout and one (or more) decides to start the season in Russia?
Imagine you're Columbus, Edmonton, the Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders, etc. You'd be thrilled to get one of them to rejuvenate your team. But you'd be terrified of what would happen if the player didn't like the contract, the situation, the organization -- anything. Teams are going to have to work hard to convince these players each potential city is the right spot. It's unusual for draft picks to have this kind of leverage.
"You're really going to have to do your research here," said the aforementioned GM. "You cannot afford to make a mistake."
Draft? Russians? Homework? Blue Jackets? This has disaster written all over it!
Look out for the next one!
I was watching NHL Network this morning and a 15 year old by the name of Connor McDavid just got granted "exceptional status" from the OHL. The last player to receive such an grant was John Tavares. Without that exception he would not be eligible for another year. He will be playing against guys that could be a much as 5 years older than he.
Here are McDavid's stats according to this post on HF:
Regular Season 33G+39A= 72 points in 33 games played
Playoffs - 15G + 16a= 31 points in 14 playoff games
Fitzsimmons Tourney- 7G+3A= 10 points in 5 games
ohl cup- 11G+8A = 19 points in 7 games
CCT- 2G+9A- 11 points in 7 games
Totals 68G+75A= 143 points in 66 games.
The Eerie Otters of the OHL have the first pick in this year's OHL draft. However there are rumblings that McDavid might not report to that team so it will be interesting to see where he ends up.
He will be eligible for the 2015 NHL draft.
So what will it be? Dive for McDavid?