It's Free Agency Eve, and the excitement in Columbus is near a fever pitch.
The acquisition of James Wisniewski's rights yesterday sent a clear message to the fanbase...not quite what Tom suggests at DBJ, but similar. Scott Howson knows that it is time to make this team a force, and part of that is making some bold moves this offseason.
It also helps that "The Wiz" seems very enthusiastic about getting on board here in Columbus, and as a result, the reactions have ranged from impressed to "HELLZ YEAAAAAAH". For myself? I'm quite pleased. He might not hit 50 points next year (though I wouldn't complain!), but a reliable 30-40 point guy would be a HUGE improvement on our blueline....and when you add Wisniewski to Carter on the power play? Boom.
Oh, and I'm just leaving this little gem right here.
As we wait to see if Howson can get him under contract before Friday at noon, let's take a look around the web this morning.
As someone comes to town, another leaves town - per Aaron Portzline, Mike Commodore will be put on waivers today to buy out the remainder of his contract. Thank you, Mike. Thank you for the year of the playoff run. Thank you for not making drama when you accepted the move to Syracuse. Thank you for taking the buyout like a man, and not raising a stink there. Thank you for three years of good (if sometimes head-shaking) quotes. It obviously didn't work here, but I wish you luck in the future.
Congratulations to former Jacket Todd Marchant on his retirement, announced yesterday. Hell of a career.
A less pleasant retirement is that of Paul Kariya, who missed last season due to post-concussion syndrome, and that injury has, sadly, cut his career short. Kariya was not shy about blasting the NHL's discipline policies, rightfully. It's a genuine shame - he was a true point a game player, and we deserved to see his talent last longer. More reaction at JAHL and PHT.
OK, how cool is this? Over at the CBJ Pucks & Stuff Blog, a street banner from the inaugural season!
Not surprisingly, the Jackets and Jan Hejda appear far from a deal. The issue appears to be term, not money - if he really wants a four or more year deal, well...thanks, Jan, but no thank you. Good luck.
Semyon Varlamov is going back to the KHL, and his agent is rather uncomplimentary towards the Capitals.
Development camp continues today with on-ice testing. Tom Reed has a great recap of day two, including some exciting reports on Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner.
Jaromir Jagr was expected to give the NHL teams interested in his services an answer today....and then he went off the grid.
Dwayne Roloson will return to Tampa Bay, while Buffalo moving Steve Montador's rights to Chicago seems to indicate that Christian Ehrhoff may well sign there after the Sabres acquired his rights from the Islanders.
Not surprisingly, the Hockey Hall Of Fame is taking heat for their snub of Pat Burns. Good.
In a refreshing interview, Nikita Filatov admits he made some "little mistakes" in Columbus. Work ethic, discipline, fitness, informing the team about injuries. You know. Stuff.