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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't expect Legein to be gone for long


For those who haven't heard yet, the Dispatch is reporting that 2007 2nd round pick Stefan Legein has retired.

One of the Blue Jackets' most gifted prospects apparently has decided to quit playing hockey, only three months short of his 20th birthday.

Right winger Stefan Legein, the Jackets' second-round draft pick in 2007 and a player who has represented Canada in numerous international tournaments, had his agent notify the Blue Jackets of his decision yesterday.

"Stefan has informed us that he's not coming to (training) camp," general manager Scott Howson said. "We're surprised that Stefan has decided that this is what he wants to do. We're surprised it's come to this.

"We knew there were issues with Stefan going back to last spring. We've talked through it with him and we haven't had any success."

Howson would not elaborate on those issues
.

"Issues" would certainly be a way to put it.

This move tells me one thing and that is that Stefan Legein doesn't quite have it all together upstairs and that he has some serious maturing to do.

Now there could be some "at home" stuff that we aren't privy too but I think that is a extremely unlikely. Especially given the "lost the passion to play" quote. Instead I think other "issues" are at play here.

So what are they?

My guess is that Legein has sailed through his hockey career to this point and now that its gotten difficult and he has to put the work in he doesn't like it.

We've heard the stories about him asking to leave the Crunch team to work out on his own -- I call BS on that one. I think he was asked to leave due to his attitude and arrogance in that locker room -- of which guys like Zenon Konopka won't and didn't stand for especially given the roll that team was on last season.

That attitude may have carried over in prospect camp and he wasn't "the man" and given a free pass like perhaps he had gotten earlier in his career and he took offense to that. Instead of staying and putting in the extra time in Columbus like some of the other prospects he went home to Toronto. What does that say about this guy's commitment?

Heck maybe he's home sick or "in love".

Bottom line here is that whatever the reason may be Stephan Legein has a lot of growing up to do. Being a professional athlete isn't something that is just given to you -- you have to work for it. You have to be a good teammate and when the going gets tough, you suck it up -- you don't just quit.

I'm sure some of the negative CBJ voices out there will spin this as some sort of massive failure on the Jackets part to develop their prospects but honestly I don't think there is much here to pin on them in this particular case (we certainly can't say that for everyone though).

The one beef I have here with the Jackets is how the scouts didn't catch the apparent flaws in this kid's mental fortitude? To quit as a 20 years old b/c of what appears to be a "loss of passion for the game" shows that the Jackets scouts missed on where this kid was at mentally. That said, perhaps that is why he was a 2nd round pick instead of a 1st and that it was a risk they were willing to take.

One thing we can say for sure is that the Jackets luck with 2nd rounders continues to stink.

Here is the list of former 2nd round picks:

Tim Jackman, Kiel McLeod, Joakim Lindstrom, Dan Fritsche, Adam Pineault, Kyle Wharton, Adam McQuaid, Stephan Legein, Will Weber & Cody Goloubef

With Legein out (for now) only Pineault, Weber and Goloubef remain with the organization from that group.

Don't fret too much though Jacket fans. Legein will be back. You just don't quit cold turkey on something you've done your entire life especially when you can make the kind of living a pro hockey player can.

He's young and he's making an in the moment decision that young people make. Once Legein has some time to reflect on his decision and realize what his future holds in the "real world" he'll be back at it. It may not come by camp but it will come. His father even hints at that with this quote:

"When does training camp start, Sept. 19 or 20?" Chris Legein said. "Until Sept. 20, he hasn't quit anything."

At this point though really the only person Legein is hurting is himself. If there is one position the Jackets could afford this to happen to it would be wing. That road to the NHL just got longer for this kid.

From bad news to good -- the same article states that Nikita Filatov's visa has been approved and he's expected to come to North America September 7th. This news tells me that any conspiracy theories I may have concocted can certainly be put to bed.

Oh and mad props
to Bethany over at Bethany's Hockey Rants for breaking this story. She's got a great CBJ blog over there is a very passionate fan.

Discuss - thoughts on Legein?

-LTL

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. This isn't a permanent retirement by any means. There are many reasons a kid can lose his passion for the game, and being in love (which is what I understand was the beginning cause of his distraction) can be one of them. In the end, however, lots of players fall in love and they simply keep going. If this is something that he is going to cause him to trash his career then he was, on some level, just looking for a reason to quit.

The fact that his parents didn't know (or seem to be in the dark) is another inication that this kid is acting on a whim. If this was a painstaking decision that the kid had come to, certainly his parents would have been involved in the process--just as they have been to this point in his career. The dad seems flat out pissed off.

If the kids heart wasn't in it then it is better for both sides that he takes a step back. He may be back, but he may not. In the end, it is better we find out now before the jackets invest a ton of money and time in this kid only to have him walk away three years from now.

Matt said...

I'm really just hoping the Jackets and his family work on sitting him down, figuring out what's really going on, and if the kid needs to sit down with a pshrink, he gets the help he needs to go forward, however it works out.

Certainly the Legein that showed up at the Super Series and World Juniors doesn't seem to line up with this. I think it's interesting that some of the OHL bloggers seem to think it's "just another Legein prank"....

Erik said...

I agree LTL/Anonymous.. it sure sounds like a maturity issue.. Let's hope his dad talks some sense into this kid... I am sure he doesn't want to throw away such a huge opportunity...