directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Hunter's Rumblings (hockey entries only)

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Hunter's Rumblings (hockey entries only)

Every Friday Bob Hunter (pictured right) of the Dispatch runs a "Rumblings" column and more often than not he includes at least one hockey related "rumbling" in his column. Today he actually has three so lets take a look:

Stefan Legein (pictured below left), the Blue Jackets' second-round pick in the NHL draft in June, has been drawing attention for his play during the eight-game Canada-Russia Super Series.

Jeff Botchford of the CanWest News Service called Legein, 5 feet 9, "a pit bull on skates" and noted how he aggravates the Russians every time he's on the ice. Mark Spector of the National Post referred to Legein as "Canada's super-pest."

Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray, meanwhile, compared the 18-year-old forward to Darcy Tucker.

"You always wonder with smaller hockey players how it will translate to international competitions and the NHL," Murray said. "But Legein has such a big heart. … He's the first guy into the pile, and he's the last guy out."

Legein, who plays for the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, had three goals in the first three games.

I'm a huge fan of agitators in the mold of Darcy Tucker and Sean Avery. I think they make a team extremely hard to play against and get in their heads thus forcing unforced errors if you will. We haven't had this kind of presence at the forward position since Tyler Wright so I'm excited to see Legein's career progress and hopefully in a year or two he can be that guy for the Jackets. For now, nasty Norwegian OK Tollefsen looks to filling that role from a defensive standpoint.

Like his predecessor, Doug MacLean, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson thinks it's important for Nikolai Zherdev to learn to speak English. Howson said he won't push Zherdev into lessons immediately, although given the Russian's struggles to learn new coach Ken Hitchcock's system last season, it probably can't happen soon enough.
"For him to develop fully, I think it's a must," Howson said. "It's not an easy process, and he has had a bit of a struggle with it. … Nikolai would (like to learn), too. It holds back what he wants to express sometimes because he's not comfortable talking."

Looks as though Howson is starting to catch on rather quickly as to what has driven the organization and its fans bonkers in relation to Zherdev since his arrival. Compare him to a guy like Voracek who did not know English a year ago but now gives English speaking interviews and I think you all get the picture. Zherdev has all the talent in the world but if he's not into it mentally then he's not much good. Lets hope the light goes on upstairs this season.

As if Hitchcock doesn't have enough to motivate the Blue Jackets, we offer this nugget from Iain Macintyre of the Vancouver Sun.
Macintyre was writing about how Canada needs something to save its national soccer program, and somehow the Blue Jackets took the hit:

"Our status as a third-world entity in soccer like, say, the Netherlands, or Columbus Blue Jackets in hockey, was reinforced by the resignation of Canadian Soccer Association president Colin Linford …"


More Jacket bashing. The day can't come soon enough when these critics are silenced and the Jackets are used for much more than a punchline. I think coach Ken Hitchcock and GM Scott Howson are certainly up for the challenge.


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