Welcome to the opening week of the 2019-20 NHL season. The first game is on Wednesday between the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals, the last two Stanley Cup winners. YOUR Columbus Blue Jackets begin their season on Friday night at home against the Toronto Maple Leaves, followed by trip to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Before then, the roster must be cut down to 23 players by Tuesday afternoon. The remaining battles feature three open spots for Emil Bemstrom, Sonny Milano, Marko Dano, Jakob Lilja, and Eric Robinson, and among Scott Harrington, Dean Kukan, and Vladislav Gavrikov for the sixth defenseman.
The week in Jackets news
Minirant: I get that the cancellation was out of the Jackets’ control. But given that they were already expecting a crowd at the arena, why not continue to hold an event for the fans that bought tickets? What about the fans traveling to Columbus for the game, or families bringing their kids - which is much tougher to afford during the regular season (which also features fewer afternoon starts). Torts held a practice at 3:30 that was closed to the public. Why not a scrimmage at the regularly scheduled game time?
This week the team announced that center Brandon Dubinsky would be out indefinitely with a wrist injury. Dubi’s agent said this could be a long term injury. That would be a terrible end to his career. In the short term, for now it frees up an extra spot on the roster for one of the aforementioned young forwards.
On last week’s Cannon Cast, the gang previewed the Central Division.
Will Chase and MrSwift13 made a guest appearance on the Lets Go Blues podcast to discuss the shared history of our two franchises.
Coming up this week on the Cannon we’ll have staff predictions, a rundown of where national media outlets predict the Jackets to finish, a recap of Monsters media day, and a Cannon Cast episode previewing the opening weekend and the Atlantic Division. Stay tuned!
Around the League
Josh Yohe of The Athletic reported on Sunday that the Penguins were close to trading Jack Johnson. GEE WHO COULD HAVE EXPECTED THAT THEY’D REGRET THAT FIVE YEAR CONTRACT. It’s ok, Jim Rutherford. I know the real reason you’re trading him, and it doesn’t have to do with his play on the ice. Right?
The St. Louis Blues acquired Justin Faulk from Carolina in what I feel was a robbery. It reminds me of the Canes getting low value for another pending free agent summer in Jeff Skinner.
Leaves star Auston Matthews is facing a disorderly conduct charge in Arizona from an incident in May involving drunken assholery directed at a female security guard at his condo. More details and the response from Toronto staff and fans can be found at Pension Plan Puppets.
Ohio Sports Update
The Cleveland Indians will miss the playoffs this year after three straight Central Division titles. One victory worth celebrating, however, is the return of Carlos Carrasco to the mound following a leukemia diagnosis. Cookie told his own story in The Players’ Tribune. Be sure to have tissues handy for the part where he talks about his 8 year old daughter finding out her dad has cancer.
Columbus Crew SC will also miss the postseason, but they won their final home game yesterday over the Philadelphia Union. Win or lose, the Black & Gold faithful were excited this week by the release of official renderings of the new stadium which will open up in the Arena District in 2021.
The Cleveland Browns, on the other hand, enter October in first place after a big win in Baltimore. Tonight, the Cincinnati Bengals look to get their first win of the season against the equally winless Pittsburgh Steelers.
Play Me Out
This weekend I read Hard to Handle: The Life and Death of the Black Crowes, a memoir by drummer Steve Gorman. As a fan of rock music - and the Crowes in particular - it is a riveting tale told with loads of candor and humor by Gorman, with the help of music writer Steven Hyden. My favorite part has been the story of the Crowes’ 2000 tour with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. Officially, Page cancelled the tour after 11 of 55 planned shows due to back surgery. The real reason is revealed in the book and I won’t spoil the details but suffice to say it made me nearly as angry as it made Gorman at the time. There’s a constant theme of the bickering of brothers Chris and Rich Robinson holding the band back from being a bigger act than they were.
Regardless of the backstage drama, the band remains one of the greatest American rock and roll acts of all time. If you like the Crowes or Zeppelin and haven’t heard the live album with Jimmy Page, you owe it to yourself to check it out: