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Thursday, September 18, 2008

8th training camp only a day away!

Its almost here Jacket fans... 1 more day til veteran camp officially opens for business. Of course tomorrow is just a day for physicals, paperwork and all that jazz before the on ice stuff happens Saturday but the long offseason wait is almost over.

There are few things we can chat about before tomorrow though.

The Jackets prospects (minus Voracek & Holden) were able to beat the Lightning 6-5 in the final game of the Traverse City tournament. According to the Dispatch this morning Don Boyd was most impressed Voracek, Holden, Calvert and Didiomete. I'm surprised Clitsome and Hughes also weren't mentioned in that group.

Looking at the final tourney stats John Hughes led all Jackets prospects with 5 points in 4 games. Garlock and Calvert each had 4 points. Didiomete notched 20 penalty minutes.

From a tournament perspective James Neal of the Stars led everyone in scoring with 9 points in 4 games. Patrik Berglund of the Blues was second with 8 points.

Rick Nash was interviewed on 1460 the fan last night at 6:00 p.m. In typical Bruce Hooley fashion he asked vanilla questions which showed he probably put about 5 minutes worth of preparation in before for the interview. He did manage to find out Nash was on the cover of the NHL2K9 game which he used to soak up half the interview and then as soon as it concluded he quickly changed subjects to Indians baseball.

I actually feel sorry for some of the hockey players that take time to come on and get those kind of garbage questions from someone who clearly could care less no matter how hard he tries to camouflage it.

So it goes on the radio home of the Blue Jackets.

Apparently yesterday was media day for the Jackets as there was a press conference down at Nationwide. I did hear a brief soundbite from Hitch on 610 a.m. driving into work this morning which was semi-interesting. Hitch said while its nice to see the new faces and their enthusiasm what excites his most about the season is the enthusiasm he's seen from the veteran players returning.

Playing Captain Obvious for a second, I would assume that the enthusiam stems from the veteran players being very happy about this offseason and their chances heading into camp.

From what I'm told the tempo and skill level in these shinny games are much higher than last season. That can be attributed to the upgrade in skill and the increased competition for jobs -- should be a tremendous camp to follow this year.

The Dispatch also has some great quotes from players about playoff chances this season. I love Commodore's:

"I think it can be a playoff team, definitely. The best way for me to put it is like this: I got a great (free agent) contract, yeah, but I wouldn't have come here if I didn't think this was a playoff contender. That's the truth. It's no fun losing. Now, to be fair, you're not going to find too many teams going into the season who don't think they're going to make it, right? But I honestly think this team is close. It's not going to be easy, but it's definitely attainable."

I also liked Rick Nash's response which is summed up in one line "we have to stop talking about it and just do it."

Be sure to head on over to the article to check out the rest and there are some other really good ones.

Well the New York media is already screwing up the Zherdev-Columbus story. Somehow Hitch is getting the blame for "clashing" with Z and holding him out of games:

There has never been much question about Zherdev's raw ability after a rookie season in which he scored 27 goals. Just check out his highlight videos on YouTube for proof. But for all of his upside, his career hasn't necessarily followed a straight path. After that remarkable first season, Zherdev clashed enough with then-new Columbus head coach Ken Hitchcock that he was held out of the lineup for a spell as a healthy scratch. Amid questions about his work ethic and his puck management, he dipped to just 10 goals in 2006-07. It was only last season, when Zherdev was the subject of persistent trade rumors, that he returned to form, playing in all 82 games and scoring a career-high 61 points.

I think Hitch may have scratched him once or twice but the "clashing" was all Doug MacLean and to not recognize that well publicized story is half assed journalism. I never heard of one time when Hitch and Z "clashed". In fact to Hitch and Howson's credit, they are the ones that got this kid playing respectable hockey again.

....and then of course the obligatory jabs at Columbus are here:

That the Blue Jackets were still willing to part with Zherdev might have something to do with the player becoming a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Truth is, it's difficult to imagine a kid from Kiev wanting to extend his career with a Columbus franchise stuck in neutral, particularly with the new Continental Hockey League in Russia luring players in with lucrative contracts. But the Rangers are another story. Not only are they a diverse team based in a diverse city, but they are a franchise looking to maximize what they can get out of an explosive player such as Zherdev.

Sorry bud wrong again. While certainly the contract scenario played a part I see a "diverse city" of New York as a much bigger playground for Z with a hell of a lot more temptations off the ice....and believe me when I say he'll "maximize" those temptations which judging by that pic of Z I posted yesterday he is well on his way.

I know everyone is always optimistic with new acquisitions. I'm the same way with ours (c'mon York -- you know you have a good season in you!) but it will be fun to read what this joker has to say a year from now about their prized offseason acquisition.

Its only been a few months after that trade but I would do it over and over and over again. The Jackets are a much better team today, without Z, than last year with him.

Hockeys Future has a nice read up previewing the Jackets 2008 training camp. You can check that baby out here.

A reader pointed out in the comments (thanks Jeff D.!) that 610 a.m. has a full interview with Hitch up at this link. Its the 5the one down. I haven't had a chance to listen yet but certainly plan on it.

Just 1 more day folks and it officially starts all over for the 8th time in Columbus!

-LTL

7 comments:

tom said...

Love the write up in this morning's Dispatch. Commodore is a great influence in the locker room. I just wish he'd naturally use the word "we" instead of "I" in his comments. Look hard at the article...he's the only one that does. I hope he's a team guy.

jeff d. said...

here is a link to the interview with Hitchcock this morning on 610 WTVN for anybody who wants to listen.

http://610wtvn.com/cc-common/podcast/single_podcast.html?podcast=bconyourpc.xml

It's the 5th one down.

Drop the puck already!

BZArcher said...

Tom - I get what you're saying, but also notice that was tied to his past experiences, especially about losing. That's not something I'd want to associate with the new team, either.

Plus, go check Puck-Rakers and the mention of Commodore coming in with Tyutin and Hejda before the golf thing this morning so they could do drills and work out a bit more?

I think he's gonna work out just fine.

Brody said...

I have never been to an open practice before. I am wanting to head over and check one out on Saturday. Is it at the Ice Haus? 9:30 right? Any additional info on what I can expect or need to be prepared for would be greatly appreciated.

LTL said...

Brody,

First off - you'll love the open practices. Its in the Ice Haus so your right up close with the players and coaches.

The one thing I would encourage everyone to bring is a print out of the training camp rosters. Sometimes they have them on hand outs but other times they don't. With so many bodies and new faces out there it can be tough to remember who these guys all are, where they came from (college, AHL, Major Junior, Russia, etc), if they were drafted, height/weight, etc.

I also believe parking is free if you use the Nationwide attached parking garage (if your looking at the Ice Hause its on the far left) but don't quote me on that one.

Its also very kid friendly and best of all - its FREE!

I'm pretty sure it all starts at 9 a.m. with Group A though.

-LTL

LTL said...

Thanks for the heads up on the interview Jeff D.! I'll add that to the main post.

-LTL

LTL said...

Check that Jeff D. I just read the latest Puck-rakers and now they are saying the first on-ice session starts at 9:45 and that will be the one you won't want to miss as apparently it will have the vets and top propsects.

-LTL