Sorry for the delay in between postings of Blasts. Sometimes, it's hard to find the motivation with the team in 30th place. To make up for that, today will feature a bit more of an extended version of Cannon Blasts and hopefully spark some discussion.
- Not sure if this has been discussed much yet, but the NHL is going to be implementing "NFL-style bye weeks" starting next season. First #take on this is...um, what? Why not just extend the All-Star Break a few more days for everyone? One of the joys of following an NHL team (or NBA or MLB for that matter) is the constant action of games. There are already some mini-breaks around the holidays. I'm just not quite sure why the league will be rotating bye weeks from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. Perhaps it's for the players playing in the World Cup of Hockey AND All-Star Game, but like I said, just extend some of the breaks already in place. What do you all think? What will you do with those five or six days of non-CBJ action next winter?
- BS Hockey's Matt Souva is much more hesitant about exploring trades of Ryan Johansen than others. #hottakes are all over the place on this one, depending on who you read/listen to. I think most people are frustrated with #19 this season because of what he was able to do the two seasons prior. He just is not having the same impact this year, yet. Does that mean he should be traded away for a D or prospects? No, I don't think so. But he's 54th in the league in scoring this year. He's shot percentage is down to 7.8%. He's a bit "off" from what we've seen before. Perhaps we are forgetting that he was hospitalized this summer with an elevated heart rate and some of that may still be impacting him. Either way, he's not living up to his contract demands of a year ago and he's going to need to start putting together better performances if he wants that $7.5+ million/year contract.
- Mike Johnston as Pittsburgh's head coach lasted 18 months as a fellow Metro Division member fired their HC. GM Jim Rutherford did admit to not giving Johnson all the right pieces, saying,"In fairness to our coach, part of this falls on me because I didn’t get the defenceman that was necessary to have more puck movement from the back end." Sound familiar?
- Paul Berthelot (BS Hockey) has an OHL Scouting Report here. He has some notes on current CBJ prospects and potential 2016 draftees.
- The "get-in price" at Nationwide Arena is very low compared to other NHL venues. That should not be a surprise in a smaller market like Columbus combined with the near-constant struggled on the ice for 15 years.
- The Blue Jackets will be well-represented at World Junior camps.
- Some notes from last week's meeting of the Board of Governors. It sounds like not all owners are on board with the idea of expansion just yet. Others think the league is stalling a bit to give Seattle a chance to jump in. Las Vegas + Seattle would balance the conferences at 16 apiece and I think Jeff may be happy about that. Salary cap projections for next season are in the $73 million range. Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray should get extensions (bridges?) which will probably make it difficult to do much else without a trade or two. And of course, there's also the note that executive compensation is ending, just months after the CBJ were required to send Vancouver a 2nd-round pick for a coach they no longer wanted.
- We all know fighting is way down and likely on its way out of the NHL. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN brings up a good point - if we are protecting against head shots and concussions so much, why does the league still allow bare-knuckle fights with potentially repeated blows to the head? Nick Foligno's fight in Montreal it seems sparked this discussion for LeBrun.
- Sometimes, there are storylines that transcend a sport into mainstream conversations. Some recent examples: the Golden State Warriors winning 24 straight to start the NBA season, Serena Williams going for the calendar year grand slam in tennis, Ronda Rousey dominating every opponent (until Holly Holm). Tiger Woods in the early 2000's comes to mind on a scale we may never see again. I say all of that because I think the NHL is very close to one of those types of stories, if not for some off-ice issues this past summer. And perhaps an inability for the casual fan to watch NHL games regularly. Patrick Kane has registered a point in 26 straight games, the longest such NHL streak since the 1992-1993 season. It is the longest streak by a Blackhawks player and by an American-born player. I really think that "casual" sports fans might actually tune in to Blackhawks games to see this streak going, if they could find such games on a national broadcast. But that's hard to do. So outside of your normal NHL circles, are people really talking about this? I don't know. Kane is the best American hockey player on the planet right now, but is his current streak really being appreciated?
- Speaking of America, did you know Tortorella is the head coach for Team USA at the upcoming World Cup? I had forgotten. Jeremy Roenick thinks the current style Torts is using with the CBJ should be the blueprint he uses for the WCoH. "The U.S. has to step up and get more players that have that grit and grind, that love the uniform as much as it should be loved," Roenick said. Brandon Saad would be a good candidate I would think, but he's pegged for Team North America based on his age. Perhaps Brandon Dubinsky might fit the mold Roenick is calling for?
- Last week's SBNation NHL Blog Council.
And there you go. Feel free to drop any links in the comments if you have seen something recently.