The Columbus Blue Jackets were perceived to have two possible courses of action heading in to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline – shoot their shot (cannon ball?), or cash-in and come back next year.
General Manager Jarmo Kekäläinen not only embraced the idea of taking a shot at success, but stocked up on further ammunition by acquiring pending UFAs Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingle from Ottawa, before later adding defenceman Adam McQuaid as well as goaltender Keith Kinkaid.
It was the proverbial ‘all-in’ from Kekäläinen, mortgaging multiple draft picks in order to maximise the Blue Jackets chances of not only making the post season, but also securing the first playoff round win in franchise history.
So what now? And what comes next?
Goaltending masks on as Kevin Woodley joins me for back-to-back starts….err, podcasts.
This episode looks as Sergei Bobrovsky’s future, John Gibson’s season, the start of Carter Hart’s NHL career and what it means to be a goaltender in the NHL in 2019.
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We also look at Sergei Bobrovsky’s struggles, Calgary’s game of musical chairs in the crease and Martin Jones strong start in San Jose.
Thanks to Kevin for joining me on this week’s show – you can follow him on Twitter @KevinIsInGoal
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The Blue Jackets progress continued last season, with the franchise making their second post season appearance since joining the league in 2000.
The roster may lack the star power former Captain Rick Nash provided; but under Director of Hockey Operations John Davidson and GM Jarmo Kekalainen, Columbus have assembled a roster capable of moving the club from also rans to play-off challengers.
With a legitimate #1 between the pipes, some smart veteran signings and a bevy of good prospects, there’s plenty to be positive about in Ohio these days.
At one point not too long ago, the Russian national team had multiple candidates for the number 1 spot at next years Winter Olympics.
Now a combination of injuries, dips in form and other circumstances may have left one man in sole possession of the starting job – Semyon Varlamov.
As we always see before a new season kicks off, a host of star players were hailed as potential Hart trophy winners by bloggers, pundits and mainstream media veterans – I even had my own little punt on who I thought might be in the Hart talk come seasons end.
By the half way mark, there was a clear leader – Sidney Crosby. He was a lock for the Hart after 24 games of this shortened season.
Crosby is still among the favourites to lift the trophy awarded to the player judged to be ‘most valuable to his team’. But a broken jaw has sidelined the Penguins captain, probably for the remainder of the regular season, blowing the Hart Trophy race WIDE open. Read the rest of this entry
Last weeks NHL’s Three Stars likely won’t be one too fondly remembered by Philadelphia fans; as two former Flyers and one of their most hated opponents took the honours.
Whilst the natural rivalry between the Flyers and Pens ensures Sidney Crosby will receive little affection from the City of Brotherly Love, Jeff Carter’s six goals in four outings will also leave a bitter taste after the big forwards streaky play and controversial off ice habits left many feeling he never truly flourished in the orange and black.
The real kicker though may be seeing former netminder Sergei Bobrovsky take the First Star for the week ending March 10th. Read the rest of this entry