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Cannon Blasts: Some offseason/postseason questions

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Some topics to debate, and more of this week’s links

2019 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As the Columbus Blue Jackets offseason continues, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, I have some burning questions and topics to discuss:

What impact will John Davidson’s return have?

The big news of the last week is the return of John Davidson as President of Hockey Operations for the Blue Jackets, the same position he held from 2012-2019. It stood out to me how much he spoke about loving Columbus and wanting to be back in this city. It echoed statements Jarmo Kekalainen has made over the last year to push back on the narrative that there is anything wrong with the city that makes players want to leave.

If it isn’t the city, then, is it the organization? If so, can Davidson fix that or are there problems which began under his watch? Do you feel any more confident about the future of the franchise with his presence? Can it convince Seth Jones to sign a long term contract? Does it matter for the coaching hire?

Is Tampa Bay’s cap circumvention wrong?

Nikita Kucherov spent the entire season on long-term injured reserve recovering from hip surgery, which allowed the Lightning extra room under the salary cap to keep most of last season’s Cup-winning roster intact. There is no cap for the playoff roster, so a healthy Kucherov was able to play and contribute immediately in the Lightning’s first round series against the Panthers. This set off a flurry of tweets during Game 1 about whether or not such a scenario should be allowed. Where do you all fall on this? I think this Greg Wyshynski article for ESPN has it right. Don’t hate the Lightning for operating within the rules of the CBA. Take issue with the rules if you want, but I’m not sure that any of the proposed tweaks to the rules wouldn’t make things worse in the long run. Is it good for the sport if a player like Kucherov isn’t allowed to compete in the biggest games?

How good have these playoffs been already?

Ok, not really a burning question but let’s talk about this anyway. I feel like we’ve been spoiled with a smorgasbord of close games every day. The only uncompetitive series has been Colorado’s sweep of St. Louis. Boston is the other team to advance already, but their five game victory over Washington featured three overtime games. There have been ten overtime games so far in the first round across all eight series.

There have been some surprises, too. Winnipeg kept Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scoreless while taking the first two games of the series in Edmonton, then erased a three-goal deficit to win Game 3. After Carolina dominated the first two games of their series, as expected, Nashville has evened it up at home with two double-overtime victories.

For more playoff coverage from The Cannon, listen to last week’s Cannon Cast and read MrSwift’s storylines to watch for the first round. This Cannon Blasts post is the open thread for Jackets and other topics, while this post will be the open thread for the rest of the first round.

The week that was

Yegor Chinakhov got his day with the Gagarin Cup:

He took the cup to the grave of Alexey Cherepanov. Cherepanov was a first round pick of the Rangers who passed away of heart failure at just 19 years old, while playing for Avangard Omsk.

The World Championships are underway and the Blue Jackets are well-represented, though not by most of the star players. Adam Clendening didn’t get to play a game for the Blue Jackets this year, but is playing for Team USA. Just to give you an idea of the impact of the playoffs and COVID on the rosters for the traditional powers.

SpecmenceCBJ, a must-follow on Twitter and YouTube for CBJ video content, has compiled this handy thread of highlights of Jackets players and prospects:

Jody Shelley is getting a chance for some national exposure. Listen for him on NBCSN at 7 p.m. tonight as the color analyst for Game 5 of the Penguins/Islanders series.

Play reviews continued with Max Domi, Seth Jones, Oliver BJORKSTRAND, and Cam Atkinson.

We also voted on the most and least valuable players for the season.

Ohio Sports Update

In the last Cannon Blasts I complained about the Columbus Crew rebrand. Thankfully, ownership came to their senses about the name change. Unfortunately, the new logo is still in place, with a few minor tweaks. The team went 0-2-0 as Columbus SC but got their first road victory of the MLS season on Saturday as the Columbus Crew. Lucas Zelarayan is incredible.

Also incredible: Simone Biles. The combination of speed and power here is so impressive. What a tremendous athlete.

Play me out

One of my favorite bands, The Black Keys, have released a new album called Delta Kream. The Akron-bred duo return to their roots here, with an album full of Mississippi hill country blues covers. For those who have been fans of the Keys since before their pop-rock success a decade ago with Brothers and El Camino, this is a welcome return to the gritty, grungy, lo-fi sound that used to be their signature before their lengthy partnership with producer Danger Mouse. I like both versions of the band, but listening to this album felt like catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in years.