directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: ESPN's Scott Burnside previews the West

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ESPN's Scott Burnside previews the West

Here is what Burnside (pictured right) had to say about the Jackets:

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets have never come close to making the playoffs since entering the league in 2000. They likely won't to start this season. That said, watch for coach Ken Hitchcock to put his imprint on a team he joined midway through last season. Hitchcock has another character guy in Michael Peca, who signed after Alexander Svitov bolted to the Russian elite league. Hitchcock's top priority will be to continue to push Rick Nash to become a complete player on the ice and a leader in the dressing room. New GM Scott Howson will no doubt look to unload defenseman Adam Foote and former MVP Sergei Fedorov at some point during the season with both headed for free agency next summer. Those moves will open up oodles of cap room that will help Columbus really turn the corner.

Dearly departed: Doug MacLean (GM), Alexander Svitov, Bryan Berard, Anders Eriksson, Aaron Johnson.

Joyously welcomed: Scott Howson (GM), Kris Beech, Michael Peca, Jiri Novotny, Jan Hejda, Sheldon Brookbank.

Burning questions
• How does goalie of the future, Pascal Leclaire, bounce back after a knee injury sidelined him for the last half of the season?
• Who is the Blue Jackets' legitimate starter, Leclaire or Fredrik Norrena, who turned in a respectable 2.78 goals-against average and .904 save percentage in 55 appearances last season?
• Which Rick Nash do Blue Jackets fans get -- the one who excelled once again at the World Championships for Canada or the one who often has struggled to live up to his superstar billing?
• Can Howson find a taker for Fedorov, whose bloated salary and lack of production ($6.08 million this season, 18 goals last season) is a living symbol of the Blue Jackets' failures as a franchise?

Fair evaluation. Heck my biggest gripe is they need to update the CBJ logo on their web site.


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