Good morning and happy Wednesday! We're now 8 days away from the NHL's opening night!
News is picking up throughout the NHL blogosphere, but for the Jackets, James Wisniewski is still the major topic of discussion.
The Dispatch offers some serious depth, with Aaron Portzline talking to Scott Howson and coach Arniel, a Michael Arace commentary, a Rob Oller column, and finally an editorial by Portzline on why he feels the hammer was too harsh in this case.
Meanwhile, the next Shanaban came down with Anaheim's Jean-Francois Jacques getting five games for leaving the bench to instigate a fight. I asked this last night on Twitter, but I am being serious - looking at the Jacques suspension, does it affect your opinionl about the severity of the Wiz ruling?
Crimespree Hockey has Ryan Johansen on their "Rookies to Watch" list.
On Puck-Rakers, Portzline talks a bit about the battles with 10 days to go. Good to hear that Calvert appears to be well on his way to recovery, though one wonders what will happen with Tomas Kubalik as he comes off the IR. Interesting that Kris Russell, despite being a "lock" on paper, keeps coming up as a weak point. One really wonders what that means for #10's future in Columbus. Unfortunately, it also comes with the news that Derek MacKenzie seems very likely to start the season on IR.
In the other big story from this week - the NHL will not discipline Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds for an alleged slur. That said, I'm encouraged that the NHL has communicated that homophobic slurs will be treated the same as racial or ethnic slurs on the ice, and that they will re-open the incident if more proof comes to light. Meanwhile, Tapeleg asks what the big deal is, and I get his point, too - far worse things have and probably will be said - but I think this is a case where society is starting to put a stricter eye on how everyone, including pro athletes, behaves when the spotlight is on.
Some other quasi-related good news - looks like they're catching the banana thrower, too.
DBJ took a look at the Business First blog we pointed out yesterday, and he's excited about the planned events for the future.
NHL hot stove hit their Central Division Preview, and there is a lot of interest in the Jeff Carter / Rick Nash pairing. (Do we get to give them a cute nickname yet? Can I suggest "Crasher"?)
Jeff Little chats a bit about the art of roster building after yesterday's cuts.
The NHL held another sold out pre-season game in Kansas City. Is it a sign of another possible relocation option, or just a threat to hold over the heads of current NHL cities?
Last few drips and drabs this morning: The Canucks third jersey schedule (I like them better than the primary, anyway), Scott Hartnell is back with the Flyers after passing a cardiologist's examination, and the Penguins schedule might set them up for a big finish to the season.