Archive for July, 2009

24
Jul
09

Mason Speaks and more

A few more interesting tidbits of news today. Fanhouse published this nice chat with Steve Mason here. From discussing benefits of Ken Hitchcock’s system to his avoidance of blogs as well as dealing with mono all while carrying the CBJ to the playoffs for the first time.

Defenseman Marc Methot is now signed for a 2-year contract at a reasonable $2.025 for the duration of the contract. The CBJ have still yet to go all the way to arbitration with any RFA in their brief existence. Definitely a random fact to keep in mind for one of those hockey trivia games.

With the signing of Methot and the continuous search for an offensive d-man, Michael Arace takes a minute to say goodbye to one of the truly good guys Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. While not official, it is all but assured he will not be back in a Jackets sweater, my best wishes go out to him and his family.

Finally another nice post about possible free agent or trade targets of the CBJ as the 09 season looms. Personally I like the idea of somehow acquiring Zubov as a mentor for our younger d-men and as a temporary fix of the power play that was well documented as atrocious last season.

19
Jul
09

Playing Catch-up

News has been slow since the release of the NHL Schedule last week, a few other blogs have provided their analysis and opinions on the upcoming season (now less than 3 months away!).

First up is this awesome bit of analysis from “On the Forecheck” a Predators (boo) Blog presented by Dirk Hoag, probably one of the best analysts I’ve ever read. He provides a break down of all the travel by every team in the NHL and also the amount of back-to-back games for each team.

Picture 6

If you don’t already check out his blog, I highly recommend it, if not just for the rest of the chart, but for other great hockey information. (A quick note, its because of informative blogs like Dirk’s that hockey fans earn the unofficial title of “most passionate sports fans”, a HUGE thanks again to him for all the work)

Eric Smith posted a nice little “trick or treat” on his blog over at HockeyBuzz.com when it comes to the CBJ’s schedule.

Today The Dispatch had an article explaining a tweak to the Jacket’s travel schedule for the upcoming season.

Finally, Puck Daddy continued his level of awesome hockey coverage, even in the off season with a nice interview with Rick Nash.

15
Jul
09

Blue Jackets 09-10 Schedule

Courtesy of NHL.com and their great schedule layout, here’s the 2009-10 Blue Jacket’s Schedule broken up into 4 distinct areas….

Picture 1

The Blue Jackets start the season off at home vs. the Wild but immediately hit the road for a “non-traditional” Western Trip hitting Vancouver, San Jose and Phoenix, all places where the Jackets have not fared well in the past. Typically the Western Trips involve all 3 Canadian teams or all 3 California teams, this is a bit of each. The Jackets end up playing 9 of the first 19 on the road, ending with a 4 game home stand before heading out again.

Notable Home Opponents: Pittsburgh, Carolina, Detroit

Notable Road Opponents: San Jose, Washington

Picture 2

This 2nd quarter of the schedule includes both a 5-game and 4-game road trip, with a couple quick jaunts for 13 road games in 24 games played. This total stretch takes us right up to the end of 09 and the beginning 0f 2010. It is nice to see a New Year’s Eve game back on for the CBJ, but the 5 game roadie could really start this stretch off rough. Playing at the Rangers, Montreal and Ottawa is an interesting combination, but could end up being a blessing if the CBJ continue their dominance over the East.

Notable Home Opponents: Colorado (will Foote play?), Detroit

Notable Road Opponents: Rangers, Montreal, Detroit

Picture 3

This is where the Jackets must make a push. Included is a 6 game home stand that includes a break from February 14 through March 2 for the Olympic games to be held in Vancouver. There seem to be a few more division games in this stretch and the final stretch, all coinciding with the NHL’s effort to intensify divisional rivalries, specifically for teams like Columbus and Nashville in the Central. The Olympic break should be a nice bit of time for those players with lingering injuries to heal up for the final stretch run.

Notable Home Opponents: Chicago, Buffalo, San Jose, Vancouver (2x)

Notable Road Opponents: Calgary, Philadelphia, Boston

Picture 4

The final 18 games of the regular season look to be nothing but intense as the Red Wings and Jackets face off 3 of the final 5 games in the season, and oh yeah some joke named Ovi comes to play in Nationwide. Lots of Central Division games will make it interesting, but so will games vs. Atlanta, Tampa, and the Islanders (breaks for Mason?). If Brodeur is healthy, Mason could have a goalie’s duel with his idol in New Jersey.

Notable Home Opponents: Chicago, Washington, Detroit

Notable Road Opponents: San Jose, New Jersey, Chicago, Detroit

All things considered, it isn’t a terrible schedule for the team (or for me personally) there is a healthy amount of back-to-back’s but that has to be expected in an Olympic year.

Let me know your thoughts on the Jacket’s upcoming schedule!

08
Jul
09

Nash and more

In the last couple days Rick Nash done interviews for both 97.1 The Fan and The Columbus Dispatch, here’s a snippet:

“A lot of people here in Toronto were counting on the hometown boy to somehow end up playing in Toronto,” Nash said. “But I wanted to make a statement — about how much I appreciate the McConnell family, everybody with the Blue Jackets, the fans and the guys in the room.

“The last five or six years, I’ve really enjoyed living and playing Columbus. I said that all along, but a lot of people aren’t going to believe that until the contract is signed.”

jacket for life

Hopefully the hockey gods are starting to go in the Blue Jackets favor (finally).

espnThe Worldwide Leader released the Ultimate Team Rankings where they compare franchises in all professional sports based on “Bang for the Buck”, Fan Relations, Ownership, Affordability, Stadium Experience, Players, Coaching, and Title Track.  The Blue Jackets ranked 29th in the NHL in the initial year of ESPN’s rankings, climbing to 14th, then 22nd, up to 17th and finally this year reaching an all-time high ranking 9th. “Bang for the Buck” and Title Track seem to be the categories holding the CBJ back the most, which if things continue on an upward track, those won’t be a problem in the not so distant future. When compared to other leagues (NHL+ NBA, MLB, NFL) the Blue Jackets rank 31st overall, a very respectable position.

rink1-lg

Mirtle has two great features on the top 100 UFA’s and who still remains as well as the top remaining Defenseman, a huge need of the Blue Jackets. Mirtle continues with a breakdown of the top all-around defenseman available who has both skill, is young, and should come at a decent price; Dennis Seidenberg formerly of the Hurricanes is his choice here. Here’s the ranking of the top remaining potential Power-play QB’s:

Power Play TM GP TOI Pt/60 GFON/60 GFOFF/60 Diff
1 CORY MURPHY T.B 32 3.83 3.92 6.86 6.18 0.68
2 MATHIEU SCHNEIDER MTL 67 3.50 3.58 8.70 6.73 1.97
3 M-A BERGERON MIN 72 3.09 3.51 6.75 7.38 -0.63
4 DENNIS SEIDENBERG CAR 70 2.70 3.49 6.66 5.96 0.70
5 TEPPO NUMMINEN BUF 57 1.89 3.34 5.56 7.62 -2.06
6 PAUL MARA NYR 75 2.55 3.13 5.32 3.03 2.29
7 PATRICE BRISEBOIS MTL 62 2.72 2.49 4.26 8.03 -3.77
8 PHILIPPE BOUCHER PIT 41 2.27 1.93 6.44 4.67 1.77
9 DEREK MORRIS NYR 74 2.19 1.11 3.33 6.22 -2.89
10 CHRISTIAN BACKMAN CBJ 56 2.12 1.01 2.52 5.68 -3.16

Of these top 10 none of them really lit the world on fire with the PP skills, most of them are too old, or they just like the size that Hitch & Howson really like. I could see the CBJ going after Seidenberg because he has the size and age that would interest them, but he hasn’t quite been a points machine registering only 5-25-30 this past season with the ‘Canes.

Adding a couple defensemen is now the priority of GM Scott Howson and look for moves through trade and possibly free agency. The CBJ will have to give up some of the wingers who the team is overloaded with, certainly it will be an interesting rest of the summer to see who the Jackets go after… stay tuned.

04
Jul
09

Jacket for Life (Almost)

Rick Nash has solidified himself in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets, not that he was unsecured before, but yesterday’s 8-year deal confirmed what we all know, Nash loves the city and the franchise and doesn’t want or need to be a part of another rebuilding process (see Toronto).

A huge thanks deserves to go out to The Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline who has relentlessly pursued details of the negotiations since July 1 hit. He has been able to capture some great quotes, like this one from Scott Howson:

The Blue Jackets have signed captain Rick Nash to an eight-year, $62.4 million contract extension, The Dispatch has learned. That’s an annual cap hit of $7.8 million.

“It’s a very fair number,” Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. “(Nash) made a statement to the team and the city that he’s not out for the last dollar. He wanted to have a fair contract that allows us the flexibility to build the team around him.”

Nash’s contract keeps him in Union Blue through the 2017-2018 season (unless there is a trade) and allows Jackets fans across central Ohio to breathe again knowing that the main cog in the machinery of the organization will remain put also giving the franchise even deeper roots in the community. The Dispatch also provides this little nugget:

For Rick Nash, it didn’t come down to money; it came down to being a Blue Jacket. That became obvious during the final stages of negotiations when he suggested adding an extra year to his contract extension so it would give the team more money under the NHL’s annual salary cap to spend on other players.

More later, Happy Independence Day to all!

01
Jul
09

Jackets sign Pahlsson

The Blue Jackets have signed former Blackhawk and Duck, Center Sami Pahlsson The Dispatch reports.

Here are his career lines:

Picture 1

Not a bad signing at all, adds some grit and skill, the big plus is his age (26) and the non-ridiculous contract (3 years 2.65 million per)… more to come hopefully




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