As we get ready for some more fireworks in the skies, there were a few more explosions in the NHL last night on the free agency market, and in Columbus with the end of development camp.
With Brad Richards heading to Broadway, several other big names found homes in his wake, including Ian White to Detroit, the Capitals getting another insane steal with Tomas Vokoun going to Washington for chump change (anyone else think this is a "Cup Or Bust" move?), Simon Gagne heading to Hollywood, and Tim Connolly going up the QEW to Toronto, leaving Pegulaville behind.
Meanwhile, in Columbus, Cam Atkinson put on a show for the final day of Development Camp, to the delight of a packed Ice Haus, but it would be Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen's Team White who brought home the victory over Cam's Team Blue. We've also got pictures from two fans in the audience, courtesy of Flickr. Congrats to the Jackets for another successful camp, and a hearty "Way to go!" to the fans for showing their enthusiasm for the future of this team. (And, of course, special stick taps to Mohio73 and DerDrache for sharing their photos!)
Over at Puck Daddy, Justin Bourne takes a second to blast long term contracts, particularly ones that appear to be designed as cap circumventing like the Ehrhoff, Richards, and Kovalchuk deals. One really wonders if the new CBA is going to slam that loophole, and perhaps force some renegotiations.
Interesting fact from The AHL - our two goalie signings, Mark Deckanich and Curtis Sanford, had the best Save Percentages and GAA in the A last season. Another encouraging stat for Deckanich being ready for prime time...which is good, because in Tom's opinion over at DBJ, this season begins and ends with Steve Mason, and he will need to be ready to step up.
On the other hand, there's a fair point that Columbus is also going to be taking some pressure off of Mason by improving the offense. I'd even argue that despite one more hole to fill in the D chart, the team's defense should also be in a position to take some of the load off Mase.
As we continue to shake the tree to see what falls out in free agency, LTL discusses Scott Howson's lack of a free agency hangover, while Columbus Wired talks about the team's rapid improvements, and Gallos at DBJ takes a look at the Jackets as the likely only pro game in town next season with the looming NFL / NBA lockouts.
A stick tap to Greg May of Full Mental Jackets for finding this - a Toronto radio jockey compared the Blue Jackets to the Kansas City Royals. So someone at the National Post wrote up a comparison of the two. While some of the numbers aren't pretty, at least we can claim to have made a postseason appearance more recently than 1985...
Finally, a fun little ditty to end the day. Did you know that James Wisniewski has a blog? He does. And, as it happens, he made a neat little highlight video of his past season and run to the playoffs...