A few Jackets short of a wardrobe

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Ohio Jones, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    After the incredible rush of their long playoff run and the crushing disappointment of losing out in the Cup final round, after the high-pressure period of the entry draft and free agency, after numerous trades, the Columbus Blue Jackets needed some time off.

    Time to reconnect with their families. Time to reassess what worked last year, and what did not, and time to recharge for the long season to come. But recharge time is over now, and the Jackets are busily preparing for training camp. Coaches, trainers and players are all hard at work, and so is the GM.

    "We're coming off our post-playoff hangover, and there's a lot to be done to get ready", Doug Emerson said. "We've got a lot of good young players coming into camp - more than we've had in the last several seasons - so there will be some competition for icetime. Even so, we'd feel a little more comfortable if we had a couple more veterans in the fold. We've still got a few holes."

    This season's Jackets will be missing five players who saw regular shifts during their record season and playoff run, including Jeremy Roenick, Chris Gratton, Bob Boughner and Philippe Boucher - all lost to free agency - and Kirk Maltby, who was traded away on draft day.

    "That's a ton of experience and ability for a team to lose, and it's very hard to replace - even harder in a cap world where you're having to compete for players with teams who have a lot more room under the ceiling."

    Joining the Blue Jackets are... er... well...

    "We added some great young players in Marty Sertich, Joe Pavelski and Jamie Hunt, plus of course a strong draft class headed up by Joey Ryan and Nik Kulemin, but while those players will have a chance to show what they can do in camp, we're not expecting them to jump right into the HFNHL.

    "Up front we're going to be looking to two players in our system to step up and make a splash - Steve Bernier and Dustin Penner, both big, talented wingers with considerable upside - it's going to be exciting to see what they can do. But that still leaves us with some holes at forward. We thought we had a deal with veteran Rem Murray to center our checking line, but he ended up heading to Europe. Plus we're still waiting to hear back from Steve Begin's agent on his qualfying offer. Having holes is fine in camp, because it gives you more opportunity to see what the kids can do, but you like your kids to fight to take roster positions, not have them handed to them. We're still looking.

    "On the blueline, Brian Pothier makes the jump up from injury sub to top-six, and we're excited to see his puck-moving skills in our system. We think he'll look great alongside Matty (Norstrom) or Keith (Carney). We're in talks to add another skater into the mix - if they pan out, we'll be in good shape. And we brought in Alexei Semenov and Dan Jancevski to join Andy Wozniewski as blueline depth.

    "In goal, Marty (Brodeur) is the man, of course, but there will be interesting competition for his backup. Michael Leighton has played well for us, but he's getting a lot of pressure from Mike Smith and now Martin Houle. We llike where we're situated in net."

    Players to watch in (NHL) camps:

    RW Steve Bernier - should continue to improve with Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau on the Sharks' second unit
    LW Dustin Penner - after stellar performances in the AHL and the NHL playoffs, he's off to a big start again in exhibition... but will it last?
    D Dan Jancevski - a likely #6 for Montreal until the get past their injury troubles
    D Andy Wozniewski - with Kaberle, Kubina and Colaiacovo injured, the field is wide open in Toronto
    D Alexei Semenov - will he earn a top 6 role in Florida?
    G Mike Smith - looking solid as Turco's backup in Dallas - but is he anything more?
    RW Jeremy Colliton - the Isles' veteran signings will make it tougher for Colliton to win a spot
    LW Grant Potulny - in the mix for a possible 4th-line job in Ottawa
    G Michael Leighton - will start in Cincinnatti unless Burke is able to move Giguere
    C Ryan Potulny - is he ready to be the answer at center for Bobby Clarke?
    C Jonas Nordqvist - will he make Chicago out of the gate, or be sent to Norfolk to adjust to the NA game?
    RW Darren Haydar - after languishing for years in the Preds' system, might finally get his shot in a scoring line role in Florida
    RW Darren Reid - energy player has a shot at checking duties in Tampa (***EDIT: Reid was injured throughout camp, and got only limited icetime; he's been sent down to make a good impression in Springfield's camp, but will be on the call-up list in case of injuries***)

    Mile Minderbinder
    Columbus Discoverer
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2006
  2. I like the subject line Douglas ... for once I didn't groan when I read it :razz:
     
  3. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Aww, and I tried so hard... :groucho:
     

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