directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: NHL Buzz

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NHL Buzz

First off, 1 day til camp starts Jacket fans!!!!! for some interesting news & nuggets from around the league this morning - lets start with the Maven:

Good Move Dep't: The Canadiens will retire Bob Gainey's # 23 and Larry Robinson's #19. Both Robinson and Gainey played major roles during the Habs 1975-79 four-Cup run.

Robinson's ceremony will be held November 19 (Ottawa) and Gainey's is slated for February 23 (Columbus).

In other words the Jackets may be in for a long night in Montreal for Gainey's number retirement both on and off the ice. lists the top 10 selling jerseys:

Daniel Briere, Philadelphia Flyers
Chris Drury, New York Rangers
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo Sabres
Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Paul Kariya, St. Louis Blues

Sabres (or former Sabres in Drury and Briere's cases) continue to dominate the list.

NHL is planning more games in Europe according to Bob McKenzie of TSN:

Sources say the league is currently negotiating to place the 2008-09 regular season opener in one of three venues - either Prague, Stockholm or a German city from a group that includes Hanover, Munich or Frankfurt.

No word yet on which NHL clubs might get the call.

It would seem obvious that this London event is the first step in the league's attempt to significantly heighten awareness of the NHL "brand" in Europe and that with each passing year there is going to be a greater emphasis on exposing the European market to the NHL product.

It seems this will become the norm in North American professional sports as all leagues appear ready and willing to try to tap markets outside of this continent. It will be interesting to watch which league has the most success as for instance while the NFL may dominate here, its the other football (or American soccer to those stateside) that is king over there.

Finally, takes a look at 9 rookies who could make an impact this year -- leading the way is Eric Johnson (pictured right) of the St. Louis Blues whom we'll get to see 4 times this year on home ice. Speaking of, we'll most likely get to see plenty of the past two #1 overall picks as Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks makes this list as well and is expected to make the team. No Blue Jackets are listed.

Given the turmoil facing the Blues last season, it was best that Johnson spent the season at Minnesota rather than turning pro. Once the Blues replaced coach Mike Kitchen with Andy Murray, order was restored and the franchise began its rebuilding in earnest.
The expectations for Johnson are huge. The Blues hope can become the next Chris Pronger in their defensive zone, using his 6-foot-4, 222-pound frame to contain opposing forwards. The team also needs him on the power play, which has lacked a big point shot since Al MacInnis retired.

The good news: This team can surround him with a solid defensive cast, with veterans Jay McKee and Eric Brewer and young veterans Barret Jackman, Christian Backman and Bryce Salvador. They compare favorably to some Pronger's less-memorable partners.
Remember Alexei Gusarov?

Read on for more on the others including Jack Johnson, Johnathen Toews and Patrick Kane.


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