Some wacky stuff reported tonight...
Lets first start with Puck-rakers reporting that Hitch and the coaching staff walked out of practice today.
I gotta admit. That is the first time I've seen such a tactic used. Portzline does go onto say that Hitch used this method a couple of times in Dallas to much success. Foote apparently ran practice.
First thought is final straw. This is it. He's leaving it all on the table. I don't know how much more Hitch has got up his sleeve with this group. If they don't come out a motivated bunch against Ottawa tomorrow night then at least Hitch can say he's used every trick up his sleeve to try to achieve success with this group.
In some new news on the trade front -- respected and well connected NHL personality Bob McKenzie (I'm tellin ya they don't get much better that this guy) reported that Tampa's GM is indeed shopping center Brad Richards.
Here's the catch though. He said Columbus was one of the team's interested and that they are preparing their pitch.
If you recall, I wrote a post about some potential targets a couple of days back and one of the players I mentioned was Brad Richards.
Richards would make huge sense and should solve any questions about a #1 center. As I said earlier though the Jackets would have to give up some young pieces. Richardsa would also have to wavie his NTC (no trade clause) to come here.
Couple of things to take away here CBJ faithfull:
1. Howson and the organization are ready to spend money. Richards has one of the largest contracts in the league making 7.8 million with 3 full years left on it.
2. They are going after some big fish. Richards is a legit first line center just reaching his prime.
3. The Jackets are willing to part with young assets to fill big needs. The know the time to win is now and after a year of evaluating Scott Howson . No more building.
4. If/when guys like Foote and Feds are let go this organization has a plan....and that's to fill our biggest needs with younger impact players. Howson has had a year to evaluate. Hitch has had this group for a a year and 1/2. They know what they need and who they don't need.
So look, they may not land a guy like Brad Richards. Tampa would have to like what we'd have to offer and Richards would have to waive his no trade to come here so a lot of dots would have to line up.
...even if they don't though this should send a huge message to the fan base that management isn't sitting on their hands -- they know what they need and they are going to do everything they can to acquire it assuming it makes sense short and long term.
I know you all hate to hear it, but patience. The Jackets may make a few moves at the deadline but its only part of the puzzle. More moves will come during unrestricted free agency, the draft and perhaps trades in the offseason.
You can see the Bob McKenzie Brad Richards news vid here.
Another couple of quick side notes on Richards -- if I'm Scott Howson and I really want Brad Richards, I have old Tampa teammate and fellow cup winner Fredrick Modin give him a call asap. According to Bob McKenzie Richards is also interseted in waiving his no trade.
Finally, Puck-rakers also mentioned that the Ottawa Senators are another team interseted in Sergei Fedorov. You heard it here first, when the Jackets move Fedorov they will get a young center in return. Vermette makes sense from Ottawa. Brian Lee, a young defensive prospect wouldn't be bad but I still think Howson holds out for a center.
Trade talks are defintely heating up out there. Tuesday is going to be a whole lot of fun! The trade deadline always is!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Some wacky stuff reported tonight...