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Cannon Blasts: Hockey is so close I can almost taste it

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The season is just around the corner!

NHL Prospects Tournament Day-1

After a long, hard off-season, we are finally in a month in which we will witness hockey as the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Monsters rosters come together for training camp and preseason. For this I say PRAISE WHICHEVER DEITY YOU WORSHIP. After all the speculation and anticipation we can finally just, you know, watch whatever unfolds. I am ready.

That surface they practice and play on? It’s in place now. The Jackets started a new tradition by inviting a handful of season ticket holders to help them paint the blue lines and goal creases. Here’s a cool video of the actual professionals getting the ice ready. Have you seen anything more beautiful?

The Kids are alright

We’ve had actual games this weekend, with the annual prospects tournament in Traverse City. The Baby Jackets are off to an impressive start, with a blowout victory over the Rangers and an OT win over the Wild. A win against Dallas today at 2 p.m. (streaming on BlueJackets.com and Fox Sports Go) will clinch a spot in the championship game with a chance to defend last year’s title. Alexandre Texier is playing center in this event and has excelled. A full recap of the team’s performance will come on Wednesday. You can discuss the remaining two games in the open thread.

The Hyphenator takes over the Telestrator

The team announced that former Blue Jackets defenseman Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre will take over from the retired Bill Davidge as studio analyst on Fox Sports Ohio. Ryan Real wrote about what it means for former players to occupy positions in the organization, as broadcasters or in the front office. Prior to the announcement, JLGP was kind enough to join The Cannon Cast for a wide-ranging conversation about this year’s Jackets, his decision to settle in Columbus after his playing career, and his love of golf. He’s insightful and funny and I think he’ll become a great analyst. He’s also a regular listener of The Cannon Cast, so you should be too.

In case you missed it

Some more highlights from the last two weeks here at The Cannon:

Rachel Bules hates the arena music and thinks it’s time for a change.

MrSwift13 paints a bleak picture of Alexander Wennberg. I still have hope that Wennberg can rediscover his game, but I can’t deny that the last two years have been a huge disappointment.

elpalito recounts his experience witnessing Matt Calvert’s OT winner against the Capitals in the 2018 playoffs.

William Chase is looking forward to several things this season.

Want to know which games to attend? Read my definitive ranking of all 41 home games.

The Top 25 Under 25 countdown came to a conclusion, with Pierre-Luc Dubois narrowly edging out Zach Werenski for #1. Check out all of the profiles here.

Around the League

While a large number of RFAs remain unsigned, the Arizona Coyotes got a head start on 2020 free agency by signing Clayton Keller to an eight year contract extension.

The Stanley Cup went missing. (Briefly)

As of now, fans of the Colorado Avalanche will not be able to watch their team on TV, as the team-owned regional sports network Altitude Sports Network is in the midst of contentious negotiations with the major cable and satellite providers in the region.

In contrast, fans of the NWHL will be able to stream those games for the next three seasons via Twitch. SBN site The Ice Garden interviewed NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan about that news, and other matters affecting the only remaining North American women’s pro league. The large boycott of the league by the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association remains in effect, and those members will be holding a “Dream Gap Tour” in three cities this fall. I wonder if a barnstorming model may end up being a more sustainable one for women’s professional hockey. Rather than needing markets that can support a team for an entire season, you would have a larger pool of cities that could fill a venue for a weekend of games, meet-and-greets, and youth hockey clinics. This could grow the game in markets around the continent (and perhaps Europe and Asia as well), and not just cities in the Northeast and Canada that have had teams in the NWHL and CWHL.

Sports News Around Ohio

I’ve been warning people about overhyping the Cleveland Browns, and unfortunately I was proved correct as they played a very sloppy game against the Tennessee Titans. That brings the Browns to 1-19-1 in season openers since returning to the league in 1999.

The Cincinnati Bengals put on a much better showing but ended up with the same result: a loss.

In an intrastate battle, the Ohio State Buckeyes dominated the Cincinnati Bearcats. Land Grant Holy Land breaks down all FIVE of Justin Fields’ incompletions in that 42-0 win.

The Cleveland Indians won an important series in Minnesota, but only gained one game on the Twins in the AL Central standings. They are 5.5 back in the division and 1.5 games out of the second wild card spot with just 18 games remaining in the season.

Down I-71, meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds are using the September roster expansion to give several young pitchers a last chance to impress and earn a permanent spot on the roster.