directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets invite Matvichuk to training camp dance

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jackets invite Matvichuk to training camp dance

Apparently Scott Howson still isn't satisfied with his defensive depth as according to Puck-rakers he's signed 35 year old stay home defensemen Ricahrd Matvichuk to a pro try out contract.

As Puck-rakers mentions, Matvichuk is no stranger to coach Ken Hitchcock. He played under him in Dallas from 98 to 2000 which included his cup winning year.

Matvichuk is your classic slow prodding stay at home d-man who will sacrafice any part of his body to keep the puck out of his net. The Devils didn't see a fit for him so they let him play out his contract in the minors. If he couldn't cut it at this point in his career in that defensive system why would he be able to under Hitch?

According to some Devils fans head coach Brent Sutter was hoping to change to a more uptempo style and decided Matvichuk wouldn't compliment it. After mixed results Sutter quickly reverted back to the dump and chase and Matvichuk was still on the outside looking in due to the amount of defensemen ahead of him.

At this point why not right? Similar to Joel Bouchard last season if he can step in and earn a spot so be it. It won't be easy though, not with all of the defensemen in the mix now. It will be interesting to see if Matvichuk will be willing to accept a 2-way if he doesn't make the team in camp.

Hey the more competition the better -- it should raise everyone's level of play.

Lets do another quick run down
of what our d depth looks like:

Locks: Commodore, Tyutin, Hejda, Klesla, Backman

Likely: Russell, Tollefsen

In the mix: Matvichuk, Rome, Methot, Clitsome, Sigalet, Holden, Wilson

Puck-rakers also has this interesting nugget on Tollefsen:

Brennan spoke earlier this week to Jackets defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, who remains in Norway. Tollefsen said he is “100 percent” healthy and ready to go for camp after having surgery in April to repair a cracked verterba in his neck. Tollefsen sustained a neck injury last preseason when he was hit from behind in an exhibition game. Tollefsen tried to gut it out, playing 51 regular-season games, but acknowledged the injury affected feeling in his arms and hands.

Thinkin back to last season its hard to imagine that Tolly played with those injuries. I mean he still fought, he hit, he took sucker punches (remember those games against Phoenix?) and he battled every game every shift. He's one tough dude.

The Dispatch steps up yet again. Today Tom Reed has an absolutely fantastic read on Steve Mason and the challenges that he and his family have faced this offseason.

Did you know that that there have been 24 buy-outs this summer? In fact the Jackets have the lowest one on the books in Filip Novak at $83,000 dollars. I didn't even know Novak was bought out. More cool info here. thinks Gilbert Brule could be a next "Olli Jokinen" which is a guy that was labeled a bust early on but later went on to develop into a star after 3 NHL stops:

Gilbert Brule - The sky was the limit for Brule after he was taken sixth overall by Columbus in 2005. He made the Blue Jackets out of training camp, but then sustained two serious injuries that limited him to just 34 games (seven in the NHL).

Brule had no business being in the NHL at 18 years old and his fast-tracking clearly stalled his development. Columbus kept him again as a 19-year-old and he didn’t even play 11 minutes a game en route to a 19-point season. Things got even worse in 2007-08 and this summer he was traded to Edmonton.

Still just 21, Brule is eager for a fresh start in a new environment. He unquestionably has the speed and skill to develop into a producer who can play on the top two lines. It might not happen this season, but it’s far too early to throw him out with the bath water.

Certainly Brule could be one of those guys and there is aboslutely no question the likes of MacLean and co. rushed him into the lineup. It certainly wasn't going to happen in Columbus but whose to say it will it happen in Edmonton? Their top 6...heck their top 9...looks pretty set with the likes of Horcoff, Hemsky, Penner, Cole, Cogliano, Gagner, Nilsson, Pouliot and Mareau.

Brule could easily find himself with 4th line minutes again as an Oiler or he could use the change of scenery as a fresh start and play himself right up into that top 9 of that team. Its in his hands and he'll have some good young players to work with.

I wish him luck, just not against Columbus.



Max said...

I'm surprised OKT could play with that type of injury. I didn't realize he'd been hurting since the pre-season! I saw him after the last game walking home. he was carrying his foam neck brace

Matvichuk is interesting. He could certainly provide some veteran leadership, but I don't think he'll make the team, and if he does we've got more problems than I care to think about.

Anonymous said...

Didn't we also buy out Duvie this summer?

Go hard Matty. Raise the level of competition and teach the boys a thing or two as well. If he can cut it, he can cut it all the power to him and everyone at camp.

Re: Brule: There was a reason he only saw 11 minutes of ice time and then got put in the american league. Jokinen? I don't see this guy having puck skills that could relate to Jokinen. In fact, I have heard that he hardly had the puck in jr. either, but he had a very good shot for that level which would account for a large % of the points he put up.

I can see him getting better for sure, but I don't think this will be a trade we regret anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say that he isn't satisfied with his defensive depth, I would think that he is taking the 'why not' with the Matvichuk tryout.

Erik said...


The Dispatch article states the following: "The Blue Jackets have invited defenseman Richard Matvichuk to training camp as a non-roster tryout. The team is still awaiting word on whether the 35-year-old Matvichuk will accept."

Still awaiting word doesn't sound very promising.. Your article stated that he was signed for a tryout... Knowing LTL is solid source for information I figured you must have read that somewhere else... what additional info do you have LTL..

Anonymous said...

Unless he gets a contract he will be coming.

Erik said...

I sure hope Matvichuk shows up. He would certainly push the competive level up.. If he has been keeping in shape and preparing for a regular season, he could be a good addition... The only problem being that the entire defense is now as mobile as a cement truck.

LTL said...


Yeah I may have intpreted the article wrong. My impression was that the player had to sign a PTO contract -- that could be false and all one has to do is be invited and accept verbally.

Certainly if he was offered a 1-way deal on another team that would have to supersede any PTO agreement be it written or verbal.

Anyhow there was definitely some liberty taken on my part.


Erik said...

Thanks LTL, what do you guys think of SUDIN ??? Sudin's agent just mentioned that besides the obvious 3 Canadian teams there are 3 more (American?) teams interested... For some reason they seems to think all 3 all American Teams... most mentioned are Colorado, NYR, Nashville and Columbus...

Columbus, Really??? what do you guys think.. are we interested in Sudin ?? I would personally doubt it but you never know... (Is all that backloading contracts for Sudin ?) Speculate away people..

LTL said...


That's the first I've heard of any Columbus references in terms of Sundin. If you don't mind me asking - where did you hear that?

The Jackets could certainly use him but I think its highly unlikely that A. Sundin would go to a market like Columbus at this stage of his career and B. the Jackets have the pesos to sign him -- surely he would want at least the 10 mil a season that Vancouver is offering to come here.

Sadly my dream of the "Smash" line (Nash-Sundin-Modin) will never be realized...


Anonymous said...

ltl--there is paper work involved, but the only hold up would be that if he gets a one way he will likely take it. I am not sure if he will wait to submit the paperwork until the last minute or what, but from my understanding, the only reason he wouldn't be coming would be because he got a one-way. The likelihood of that happening is very remote. I have also heard that 11 teams offered him tryouts but he chose us.

Re: Sundin. I haven't heard a word of that.

Erik said...


Sorry for my poorly explained little article... this basically reactions from predominatly readers on the HFboard, Hockeynews, etc.. .. However there was one article written that mentioned Columbus briefly.... All of the references are rumors.. Hey it's August...