This time of year is supposedly when things start to settle down and we wait, eagerly, for training camp.
Apparently nobody told Scott Howson and the Blue Jackets that, because the offseason news just keeps coming like a font of awesomeness.
Perhaps the biggest news for Jackets' fans was a blog from the GM himself, where he not only took us through much of his thinking on the draft (including the acquisition of Jeff Carter and the pick of Boone Jenner), but also talked about the signing of James Wisniewski, the move to bring in Mark Dekanich, and the agressive moves at the AHL level to help build a winning club in Springfield - including breaking the news that the Jackets had signed not only former Falcon Dane Byers and the previously announced Martin St. Pierre, but that the club had agreed to a two way deal with Cody Bass, a 2005 pick of the Ottawa Senators who had been playing for the (Calder Cup Champion) Binghamton Senators.
The Jackets' video teams have been working overtime, releasing video of Ryan Johansen and other prospects at their cooking class, and starting a new "Prospect Profiles" series by sitting down with goaltender Allen York. Oh, and a video interview with Marc Methot about his offseason, which pairs nicely with this article, where Rob Mixer sat down with Marc and talked to him about his new deal, next season, and the plans for developing as a pro over the course of his new contact.
Over at Puck Daddy, they're looking at two free agent deals, Michael Ryder in Dallas and Erik Cole in Montreal. and handicapping which one is more likely to work out.
Rob also has a great look at how the Jackets are building a new foundation in Springfield this offseason, and how the culture of winning will hopefully grow in both teams. At the same time, I also have to note that with the moves Howson has made, you wonder if he may expect players like Cam Atkinson, Maxim Mayorov, or Tomas Kubalik to challenge more aggressively for NHL time. The competitions for roster spots at both the NHL and AHL level should be quite interesting. Bart Logan at Hockeybuzz has similar thoughts, looking at the team's greatly increased center depth, and LTL reviews the whole depth chart and has a few thoughts.
The NHLPA held their annual golf tournament yesterday, and new NHLPA head Donald Fehr had some interesting comments about the future as the NHL and PA prepare to negotiate a new CBA. On the one hand, yes, there are reasons to be concerned. But on the other, I think he makes a good point about learning from the mistakes of other leagues (and the NHL's own past mistakes). There are as many reasons to hope as there are to fear. I'll personally choose hope, until given reason otherwise.
Looking for something to do this evening? Like the Blue Jackets? Like cheap food and drink specials? The Jacket Backers are holding their annual elections tonight. Cheap food, prizes, and a chance to get more involved with supporting the team? Sounds like a great deal...
Mike Modano is expected to make a decision about his retirement by early August. If he does choose to step away, it will be the end of a hall of fame career, but I can't help but think his decision to try and hang on for one more year with Detroit turned out to be a mistake in hindsight.
DBJ is firing up the "82 games in HD" campaign, and he gives some excellent reasons why Fox Sports Ohio should be trying to maximize their CBJ coverage.
For those who enjoy their hockey in pixelated form, check out the new features in NHL 12?
Some quick hits: Mark Dekanich's hometown paper had a nice feature on his big holiday weekend, it appears the Jackets and Fort Wayne Komets have parted ways, and LTL has a pretty good case of mistaken identity.
A cool feature from Minnesota: "Becoming Wild" follows the Wild's AHL team in Houston, and I would expect it to continue to cover prospect camp and training camp as well as players try to make the leap to the NHL.
Interesting news that the NHL is leveraging it's deal with NBC to have NBC handle ads and media rights sales for all NHL media assets, including NHL Network and NHL.com. Is it wrong if I'm hoping that this means an end to those constantly repeated "Shake Weight" ads while I'm trying to watch On The Fly?
Finally, thanks to Twitter user Canadan@82 for an interesting tidbit: Compare Ryan Johansen's junior stats to Eric Staal's performance in Peterborough. As we've said before, numbers aren't everything, but they sure could be an encouraging sign.
That'll do it for today - we'll just have to see what we find tomorrow!