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HFNHL: Columbus "New" Jackets Swing Three Trades

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02-14-2010, 05:42 PM
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Ohio Jones
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HFNHL: Columbus "New" Jackets Swing Three Trades

CD - Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH

In an effort to revitalize their forward corps and deal with a number of expiring contracts, the Columbus Blue Jackets have completed three deals in the last 24 hours.

- The first deal sees veteran pivot Saku Koivu and recent WJC MVP Derek Stepan go to Montreal along with a second round pick for top-line winger LW David Booth.

- The second deal sends top NCAA blueliner Brendan Smith to Los Angeles for C/W Manny Malhotra.

- The third deal sends power winger Steve Bernier and Washington's first round pick in the 2010 entry draft to San Jose for C/LW Mike Fisher and a 4th round pick in 2011.

"We're giving up a lot of depth from our system," acknowledged Jackets GM Doug Emerson. "We've worked hard over the last several years to build up a deep prospect pool, and this is one of the reasons why: to have the quality assets needed to make deals. You've got to give to get, and I won't lie - giving up promising youngsters in Stepan and Smith is tough, not to mention two high picks in this summer's draft. But we feel the return is worth it. And we're confident we have the talent and depth in our development system to afford the loss."

The Jackets had better hope so, with no picks in the first three rounds in either of the next two drafts. And while they added three NHL bodies today, they also shipped two out in Koivu and Bernier.

"We knew we weren't going to be in a position to re-sign Saku," said Emerson, "so moving him for an asset that will be with us longer term simply made sense. Steve meanwhile had approached us earlier in the year, suggesting he felt he'd gone about as far as he could go with our organization after being our 2003 first round pick, and that a change of scenery might do him good. We reluctantly agreed, and when this opportunity came up with Sn Jose, it seemed like a good fit for him and for us.

"We wish all these guys well with their new clubs."

In Booth, Malhotra and Fisher, the Jackets acquire three players under 30, each of whom either is or will be under long-term contracts by the end of the season. All three exhibit a physical dimension and the strong two-way play Head Coach Mike Babcock insists on from his players. It's unclear what the Jackets' lines will be, but with Olli Jokinen expected to miss at least another 2 weeks, there is some room for Babcock to experiment with different looks.

"One thing these moves give us," says Babcock, "is an even stronger presence in the faceoff circle. That's been key for us so far this year in controlling the play, and we look forward to that being an even greater strength. When healthy we'll be able to roll three potent scoring lines, and I think we have the defensive acumen throughout the lineup that we'll be able to match up pretty much any line against our opponents' top scorers and feel secure that we're going to take care of our end."

"We feel these moves will give us a leg up as we strive to better our post-season appearance from last year," said Emerson. "We like the look it gives our club, with a strong returning core for the next few years. And we'll still have room to give guys like (Max) Pacioretty, (Zach) Boychuk, (Semyon) Varlamov and (Carl) Gunnarsson real opportunities to contribute going forward."

Asked if he was done tinkering with the roster this season, Emerson said he'd have to evaluate the performance of the club as it absorbs these changes before making any final decisions, but suggested that one or two moves for depth considerations heading into the deadline would be a possibility.

"For now we just want to let these guys gel and see what we've got," he said, "but we're committed to giving our fans the best on-ice product we can, both this season and in the years to come."

Columbus fans should get a first look at their new players when the Jackets face off against the Islanders in the second half of a home-and-home. The Jackets took the first installment on Long Island with a 4-3 shootout victory.


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02-15-2010, 12:56 PM
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Fantastic moves, unfortunately for the rest of us in the West.

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02-15-2010, 03:04 PM
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Now I have to go and listen to my New Jack Swing cd's. Thanks Doug

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02-15-2010, 05:21 PM
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Now I have to go and listen to my New Jack Swing cd's. Thanks Doug
Happy to help.

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02-15-2010, 05:25 PM
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Fantastic moves, unfortunately for the rest of us in the West.
Meh -- I'm not even managing to keep up with the Joneses, here - I don't have a patch on you, St. Louis, Colorado or Vancouver in terms of talent, and haven't been able to come close to the chemistry Zac has found with the Stars.

And that's leaving aside teams like Buffalo and Florida in the East. Nah, if I'm managing to secure myself a playoff spot, that's about as much as I can hope for with this. And I'm going to pay long-term for moving out that much youth with no picks coming until 2012.

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02-15-2010, 09:40 PM
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and haven't been able to come close to the chemistry Zac has found with the Stars.
Thanks but I'd call it luck more than chemistry plus I had a good group of players already

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02-17-2010, 07:25 AM
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Jackets edge out Isles in shootout - again

CD - Nationwide Arena, Columbus OH

Once again it took a shootout to decide things, but the new-look Blue Jackets defeated the New York Islanders 4-3 at home, after the old guard beat the Isles by the same margin at Nassau Coliseum the previous night.

"They're such a potent offensive team, we had our work cut out for us keeping their shots down," Head Coach Mike Babcock explained. "They lead the league in shot differential for a reason, and with weapons like (Dany) Heatley and (Marian) Gaborik up front, it's not a question of keeping them off the scoresheet, but just keeping the damage to a minimum. We managed to keep their shots to the perimeter for the most part, and limited their chances."

The Jackets managed to out-shoot the league's highest-scoring team on both nights, and actually did a pretty good job shutting down the Isles two potent snipers, who had only one point between them in the home-and-home, a Heatley goal in the second game. It was the Isles' depth players who made things tough on the Jackets, with Andrew Alberts netting two goals in game 1, and Kyle Okposo doing the same in game 2.

"I've got a few more grey hairs over the past couple of days," joked Babcock, "but Rolly (Jackets netminder Dwayne Roloson) was perfect both nights - he just so calm and collected back there. At the end of the day, a win's a win, especially when it's not a conference game. I'm not happy about surrendering leads in both games, but I'm happy we persevered and got 4 points."

New Jackets Manny Malhotra (1g) and David Booth (1a) both got on the scoresheet, while Mike Fisher had three shots and was a +1.

"I think it's going to take time for each of us to find our groove," said Malhotra, who centered he Jackets' third line last night. "Three trades in 24 hours - that's a lot of change for any team to absorb. Fish, Boothie and I are all probably in the same boat - chemistry with new linemates is going to take some time. For now I think we're just keeping our games as simple as possible, doing the little things that have worked for us, and trying to learn Coach Babcock's scheme."

Whatever Malhotra's approach to tonight's game, hopefully it's something he can continue. In addition to scoring the tying goal that forced overtime with less than two minutes left in the third period, the former King had 5 shots, 2 hits, and went 15 of 22 in the faceoff circle.

Craig Conroy and Petr Sykora had the shootout winners in the two games. Sykora is riding a 4-game point streak, and performed well despite rumours that he may be the next forward to be traded. The streaky winger is in the final year of a deal that earns him $4.25 million. Conroy had to adjust suddenly to top-line minutes in the face of Olli Jokinen's injury and Saku Koivu's trade.

Veteran winger Jere Lehtinen potted his team-leading 13th goal in last night's game. New acquisition Booth has 12 (all with Montreal), while Jokinen and Alex Burrows have 9 each.

Despite boasting one of the Western Conference's best records, the Jackets have only one player - Burrows - in the top 50 in league scoring.

"We play a team game," said Burrows. "Every player contributes, every line, every pairing. (Babcock's) system doesn't have room for egos and prima donnas -- we're all accountable at both ends of the ice, and we're all expected to get our hands dirty."

The system may not be pretty, especially in the "new" offence-first HFNHL, but it seems to be working for the Jackets so far.


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02-17-2010, 08:21 AM
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Those are some impressive moves Douglas, as your forward units have taken on a whole new look. While still missing a degree of potency, there is tremendous depth and great two-way play throughout your line-up. Combine that with a veteran defence, and that will be a very difficult group to go up against over a long series.

And while you did most definitely give up some solid potential, you solved the majority of your financial issues as part of this deal, which is often very easy to do while upgrading your present team.

With the way the Hawks are playing of late, the Central has gotten even tougher.

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02-17-2010, 10:59 AM
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Ya youve done well to keep yourself fighting in a very tough central division

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02-17-2010, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sens(e) View Post
Those are some impressive moves Douglas, as your forward units have taken on a whole new look. While still missing a degree of potency, there is tremendous depth and great two-way play throughout your line-up. Combine that with a veteran defence, and that will be a very difficult group to go up against over a long series.

And while you did most definitely give up some solid potential, you solved the majority of your financial issues as part of this deal, which is NOT often very easy to do while upgrading your present team.

With the way the Hawks are playing of late, the Central has gotten even tougher.
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Ya youve done well to keep yourself fighting in a very tough central division
Thanks, gentlemen -- only 4 points back of the 2nd place Blues, with three games in hand! (Now I've jinxed myself...). and yes, it's getting tougher than ever in our beloved Central -- aren't you glad you're out of it, Zac?

Nick, I think the bolded change probably gets at what you meant to write (either that or I've been waiting far to long to address my finances!). One short-term financial impact is that I moved out two of my four Mountain Dew award winners in Stepan (WJC MVP) and Smith (Top defenceman in NCAA), so I'll need two more guys to step up in the final weeks of their seasons. Off to do some stat checking!

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02-17-2010, 05:02 PM
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haha ya i am happy to be out and even happier to be running my own team

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02-17-2010, 05:31 PM
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Thanks, gentlemen -- only 4 points back of the 2nd place Blues, with three games in hand! (Now I've jinxed myself...). and yes, it's getting tougher than ever in our beloved Central -- aren't you glad you're out of it, Zac?

Nick, I think the bolded change probably gets at what you meant to write (either that or I've been waiting far to long to address my finances!). One short-term financial impact is that I moved out two of my four Mountain Dew award winners in Stepan (WJC MVP) and Smith (Top defenceman in NCAA), so I'll need two more guys to step up in the final weeks of their seasons. Off to do some stat checking!
I am not sure you are Mr. Wisconsin anymore Doug, after losing Smith and Stepan. However, one could argue that yours truly is the new Mr. Wisconsin with Stepan, Gardiner and Craig Smith, at least co Mr. Wisconsin, since you have McDonagh, Geoffrion and Schultz, however to be fair Wiercioch originally committed to Wisconsin so I think that might put me over the top

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02-17-2010, 06:24 PM
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Ohio Jones
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I am not sure you are Mr. Wisconsin anymore Doug, after losing Smith and Stepan. However, one could argue that yours truly is the new Mr. Wisconsin with Stepan, Gardiner and Craig Smith, at least co Mr. Wisconsin, since you have McDonagh, Geoffrion and Schultz, however to be fair Wiercioch originally committed to Wisconsin so I think that might put me over the top
Heh, yeah. Strange this is I don't have any particular affinity for or affiliation with the Badgers, it's just sort of worked out over the last few years that I'd end up with a Badger prospect or two. But that's ok -- I'll settle for being "Mr. HFNHL" when I win the cup!

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02-21-2010, 03:23 PM
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With the way the Hawks are playing of late, the Central has gotten even tougher.
The revitalized Blue Jackets were able to complete a come-from-behind victory at home last night in a crucial Central Division matchup against the rival St. Louis Blues.

St. Louis stormed ahead with two early goals on Columbus starter Dwayne Roloson before the Jackets turned things around, putting three goals of their own (including two from Craig Conroy with the man advantage) past the Blues' Christobal Huet before the close of the first period. That was it for fireworks, as both Roloson and Huet closed the door for the next 40 minutes, eventually making Conroy's second powerplay marker stand up as the game winner.

The win puts Columbus just 4 points behind the Blues for the Central Division lead, with 4 games in hand. The Detroit Red Wings are right in the mix as well, just 2 points behind the Jackets with the same number of games remaining. Falling slightly behind the pace is the Nashville Predators, who are sitting just one point out of the playoff picture, and who trail Detroit by 5 points.

It looks like this year ore than any in recent memory the Central Division race may go down to the wire.

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02-21-2010, 09:17 PM
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The revitalized Blue Jackets were able to complete a come-from-behind victory at home last night in a crucial Central Division matchup against the rival St. Louis Blues.
A nice win by the Jackets. The Blues brief and rather unimpressive experimentation with a "3" defensive strategy has ended after 6 games (and 4 losses). I can handle not scoring a ton with a strategy like that, but the GAA actually went up!


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02-21-2010, 10:13 PM
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A nice win by the Jackets. The Blues brief and rather unimpressive experimentation with a "3" defensive strategy has ended after 6 games (and 4 losses). I can handle not scoring a ton with a strategy like that, but the GAA actually went up!
You just need to commit all the way! I've been running a "5" defence strategy most of the season, including last night.

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