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Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jackets sit Voracek and Holden

The Jackets prospects took to the ice yesterday minus Jakub Vorack and Nik Holden, whom according to Puck-rakers, were sat so that the Jackets could get a look at "other players" - translation - we've seen enough, we are out of the tourney, so lets not get these two injured for before the big camp.

With a full set of Blues prospects including Berglund, Petriangelo and Oshie the Jackets lost to St. Louis 5-3. By all accounts the line of Calvert-Hughes-Mayorov played well as did Clitsome (who scored a goal and added a helper). Didiomete also mixed it up with another fighting major.

The Jackets will take on the Lightning today at 2 p.m. for 7th place (ouch!). Don't expect Voracek or Holden to play in this one either and I'd be a little surprised if Clitsome played as well.

It will be interesting to see if anyone earns a contract from this tourney. I can certainly see Hughes drawing some attention and perhaps even a guy like Didiomete (who was actually selected by the Flames in the 7th round of the 2006 draft) with his willingness to mix it up.

The full box score can found here.

Scott Burnside takes a look at the Western Conference teams and questions heading into training camp. Here are his thoughts on the Jackets:

Columbus Blue Jackets: As expected, Scott Howson put his stamp on the Blue Jackets in an emphatic manner during his second summer since taking over as GM. Gone is mercurial but talented forward Nikolai Zherdev, while Philadelphia playoff scoring hero R.J. Umberger has been brought in along with skilled winger Kristian Huselius. Fredrik Modin appears healthy for the first time since coming over from Tampa Bay. The defense, never the team's strong suit, has been significantly revamped with the addition of proven winner Mike Commodore, Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman. Pascal Leclaire, who finally emerged as a franchise netminder last season with nine shutouts (second most in the league), signed a long-term deal. So, the Blue Jackets should be much harder to play against than in the past.

Burning questions:
• This is the question that will dominate discussion of the Blue Jackets all season: Have the changes been enough to get them in the playoffs for the first time?
• Is Umberger the answer to the long-asked question of who will play center for franchise scorer Rick Nash?
• If not Umberger, is top prospect Derick Brassard ready?
• Can coach Ken Hitchcock get his brand-new defense on the same page in time to get off to a good start?
• Will we ever see the Modin we saw and loved so much in Tampa Bay?

Everyone's favorite blogger Eklund has this to say about NHL expansion:

"It is coming to America. I am hear that within the next three years a current US team will relocate to Las Vegas, and two more teams will be added to the NHL in the next five years."

Where and Who?

"The team that is moving to Vegas is coming from the Eastern Conference and therefore would likely push Columbus into the Eastern Conference. They won't move Detroit. The Wings rivalries with the Blues, Hawks and Preds are too valuable to those team's stability. I am hearing that there would be some re-alignment of as well with the introduction of the Vegas team. Minnesota or Dallas would move into the Central...It is unknown who would move to the Northwest, however, if the Wild were to move."


I usually don't post his rumors but thought the Columbus reference was interesting and quite frankly makes sense. I know Detroit desperately wants to be in the East but I just can't see the other Western Conference teams letting them go and they are too big of money makers on the road. Awe the price of success.

Columbus on the other hand hasn't had any success to be a road draw and the amount of league hurdles put up to prevent them from moving would likely be minimum. They also are the most Eastern team of anyone in the West.

There is no doubt in my mind that expansion is coming (although I think the league has plenty of work to do to get all their existing franchises in order prior) and that there will be a team in Las Vegas. There is just too much money in expansion fees for these owners not to jump on it.

As to who or if anyone will move -- well I hate it when folks speculate about Columbus so I'm certainly not going to speculate about other cities.

32 team league? Only the NFL has that big of league. At what point is it to many?

The Globe and Mail ran a story this morning that states "expansion wasn't even discussed". Here is a direct quote from NHL commish Gary Bettman:

"We like our 30 teams now and we don't feel this an appropriate time to do it," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "What the future may hold, I'm not prepared to predict, but it's not on the agenda."

It may have not been discussed at the Board of Governors meeting but you know these kinds of discussions are held all the time behind closed doors and my money is on expansion before 2012. I just hope Bettman and the NHL brass make sure the NHL's current house is in order before making that jump.

Check this out - Tyutin, Huselius, Voracek & Filatov are all scheduled to appear at a special event down at Nationwide Plaza this Friday from 12 - 2 EST. They are giving away pizza, soda and chips to the first 2000 people. Details are on the Jackets web site.

Pretty cool. I just may have to drive on down this Friday.

RJ Umberger was on 92.3 FM this morning. I didn't get a chance to listen to the interview so if anyone was able to and has any details to share please do so in the comments.

Also for those attending to camp this Saturday myself and a couple of regular readers will be heading over to Boston Pizza after the 11:00 Group B leaves the ice for some pizza, beverages and of course to talk some CBJ hockey. I would strongly encourage any readers out there to join us!!

If your interested in more details or have any questions please email me at light.the.lamp@hotmail.com or just head on over and look for the guy with a flashing blue light on his head (kidding...or maybe not?)!

Hopefully most of you have your power back. Mine came on last night. As I was driving down south to grab a generator (which proved to be a waste of time) I passed at least 60 utility trucks on their way to Columbus -- so the good news is that reinforcements are here to help get this city get back up on its is electric feet so hang in there.

-LTL

6 comments:

Skraut said...

Thanks for keeping us all so well informed. I'm contemplating coming down for the practices, but just wish there was a weekend pre-season game I could tie it together with like the past few years to make the drive worth it.

Matt said...

IF, and I know that's a big IF, that expansion rumor is correct, I suspect the shakeup would be interesting....if an existing franchise would be moving to LV, I wonder where we'd be fitting into the divisional picture.

I wonder if instead of the 3 divisions of 5 each, I assume they'd split down into 4 divisions of 4.

NE - TOR, MTL, OTT, BUF

Atlantic - NYI, NYR, NJ, BOS

Mid-Atlantic - PIT, PHI, CBJ, WAS

SE - ATL, CAR, FLA, TBL

We'd be in a tough division (AGAIN!) but travel'd be a lot easier, and I'd love to see the Caps and Pens here more often instead of the Red Wings and Preds.

The one advantage to having 32 teams is the divisions and playoff picture gets a lot simpler to manage, but who knows what the schedule would look like...6 games against division, 4 games against conference, 2 games against each team in the other conference? Maybe...

Oh, well. We'll see...

Matt said...

Skraut - y'know, there is that Friday game on 10/3 with the Wild. Take the day off, come down, then do some shopping/touristing on Saturday? :)

Anonymous said...

we were originally an eastern conference team when we got an expansion team in 1997, but got blocked by Toronto






BHG

Anonymous said...

I believe as part of the expansion agreement for the CBJ, Detroit is the first team to move the Eastern Conference if the opportunity presents itself.

Anonymous said...

Matt,

I'm a Kings fan up in Akron that is planning on heading down for the 12/23 game. Do you know which goals each team defends twice, preferably in relation to the seating sections?

Thanks.

Chris