Tuesday, September 16, 2014

VOTE: Who's The Next CBJ App Poster-Guy...?

Well, this whole Ryan Johansen thing isn't looking like it's going to go well.

First, Jarmo Kekalainen drew a line in the sand.

Now, John Davidson sounds like he's ready to shoot anyone who crosses it on sight.

As I opined a couple days ago, a guy who's willing to hold out on his team should not be the face of the team under any circumstances.

So... yeah. I feel pretty safe in posting this poll... so let's hear from you: Who do you think should be the first guy you see when you open the Columbus Blue Jackets app...?

Let's go with the foursome of Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski as our candidates. If you have a write-in, leave it in a comment below. Or just comment anyway. I won't judge.


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Don't Be That Guy, Ryan...

[An open letter to Ryan Johansen]



Great season, man. Seriously... 33 goals... 63 points... a huge year-over-year increase, and a great bounce back from some moderately less-than-impressive appearances over the previous couple years, questions about conditioning, work ethic, that sort of thing.

Now you're a top-line center on an NHL team that is clearly on the rise. A team that is finally building a winning culture in Columbus, after more than a dozen years of futility, lack of leadership and poor team management.

Man, you are going to be great for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Oh, wait, thaaaaat's right... you're not signed yet.


Well... time to pull up a chair and just be quiet for a few minutes. It's time for the grown-ups to talk, buddy.

A tad condescending? Perhaps.

A little venomous? Could be.

Maybe a little unfair? Absolutely not... I'm actually taking it easy here.

See above: You are a top-line center on an NHL team on the rise.

You're also a 22-year-old kid who doesn't know $#!+ about $#!+, who seems on the verge of separating a shoulder from patting himself on the back so much.

"There is no proof of anything except that THIS GUY is a
sensational athlete (and a potentially huge pain in the @$$)."
--Jerry Maguire
As I understand from the media, you and the Jackets are approximately $3 million apart, with Jarmo shooting for $3.5 million per year on a two year bridge deal, and your bloodsuc--

...oop, sorry, agent is gunning for $6.5 million.

That was a slip, really. I'm sure Kurt Overhardt is a swell guy who values you as a person, and cares just as much about you as he does his other commissions.

However, he is a sports agent. I'm sure he has a thick enough skin for people to use the word "bloodsucker" in reference to him. I'm a really passionate hockey fan -- and sometimes a snarky, black-hearted jerk -- with filtering issues and a blog. We all have our vices... it is what it is.

You invest yourself in some workouts last season, go out and have one good season, and your one takeaway is that you're suddenly worth $6.5M a year at 22 years old?

I won a county spelling bee once on a Friday evening when I was in seventh grade. At the celebratory dinner, I began lobbying for town car service to school. Negotiations broke down... something about small Catholic schools and budgets or something.

But I was back in school the following Monday. I figured I had some skills that would translate to something useful down the road, so I should probably let it go. I didn't need an agent for that.

Get a freakin' clue.

You have an opportunity to be a part of something great here in Columbus. You're not in Calgary, you're not on Long Island and you're not in Sunrise, Florida.

You're also not dealing with the well-meaning ineptitude of Scott Howson, or the prideful idiocy of Doug MacLean. You're dealing with a front office that has seen and learned from the mistakes of those guys, and knows better than to fall into a trap with "flash in the pan" players.

Do I think you're one of those? Of course not. You could very well be a far-less-obnoxious Disney Crosby-type player here. And you have the bonus of being able to score in the Playoffs.

You could also be a far-more-obnoxious version of Alexandre Daigle.

That's one hell of a range. You don't gamble the kind of money you're asking for, based on one good year.

The Blue Jackets hold the big advantages:
  • You have no arbitration rights.
  • Any team that would even think of risking the draft picks and invest the time to come up with an offer sheet knows the CBJ would match, thus rendering such an endeavor a waste of time.
    • By the way, if anyone was going to try an offer sheet, they probably would have done it by now. Again, people have seen the CBJ's previous mistakes.
  • As I mentioned before, you're an as-yet-unproven 22-year-old kid.
Now, let's go back to that whole going-to-the-media thing with the Jackets' offer being a "slap in the face." While I would definitely think that you are foolish and immature enough to come up with that by yourself, I'm sure Overhardt came up with it and, worse, didn't stop you from running with it.

He probably even encouraged you to do so.

Overhardt's history with holdouts and his statement that your not joining camp will shift the pressure to the CBJ isn't doing you any favors, either.

The problem with that, aside from being incredibly unprofessional, is that it doesn't score you any points with fans. You're either all aboard with Overhardt's attitude, or you're content to not think for yourself and let the Puppetmaster make you look like a jerk.

[Insert guy who's not holding out here]
I've talked with a lot people this offseason. Not one that I spoke with believes you are in the right.

Again, this is Columbus. We've seen stupid crap like this before. Nikolai Zherdev. Nikita Filatov. The guys who made the mistakes around those guys don't have jobs here anymore.

Enter Jarmo Kekalainen. Jarmo is a smart guy. The Jackets actually have a front office of hockey people now.

He's also apparently very patient, in waiting for you to grow up a little and take your place in the future of this team.

You know the first thing I did the day after your little "slap in the face" comment was all over the press?

I went to the CBJ app on my phone, fully expecting someone else to be on that front wallpaper.

Because if I was in Jarmo's shoes, that's what I would have done. The Blue Jackets are a team, and a guy who refuses to commit to that team sure as hell should not be the face of it.

Be very, very thankful that Jarmo is who he is.

Because if it was me, Overhardt would currently be pitching your scoring, talent and attitude problem to Calgary, or Long Island or Florida.

Be thankful for the opportunity you have here in Columbus. I see no reason for the CBJ camp to not work on getting you to about $4.5 million a season.

I think that's perfectly reasonable,and you should take it, avoid cleaning out your stall and not risk the consequences of missing even a minute of training camp. Match or exceed last year's output over the next two years, and then send the bloodsucker back to the front office with a proposal to bloat your cap hit in 2016.

Camp starts Thursday, and your teammates hit the ice Friday. You should be there.

Tick tock. 

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting Mad... And Even

First, I'm going to fully admit... after Game 1, I watched the end of Montreal-Tampa Bay and caught a few minutes of Anaheim-Dallas and just fell asleep.

It's true. Between work and trying to come up with first round Playoff picks that didn't sound completely bat$#!+ crazy... there was some sleep deprivation going on this week.

So I woke up this morning and participated in the daily all-American ritual -- namely checking my twitter feed -- and learned a few things:

I learned that matzo and Marshmallow Peeps apparently make decent S'mores (though, apparently, Peeps are not kosher).

I learned that apparently there are those who think the "We Are The 5th Line" craze that is going on around Columbus is a knock-off of the Seattle Seahawks "12th Man."

Ummmmm... yeah. Seattle was all over that "12th Man" concept, just a few decades after Texas A&M instituted that into its college football program in the 1920s. Get over it.

But wait, I learned that the aforementioned 5th Line was largely undaunted by the Jackets' loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1.

And why should anyone feel bad?

Well, sure, the loss, obviously. But we saw one hell of a hockey game Wednesday night.

Now of course, there were some definite "coachable monents" in the game -- two power play goals against in less than a minute being the most glaring.

The jackets have 12 players experiencing their first NHL playoff game on Wednesday night… And they lost 4 to 3. To the Pittsburg Penguins. Picked by some to win it all, for some reason.

The jackets came ready to play, even--and especially--the young guys.

The Columbus blue jackets hung with Pittsburgh Penguins in game one. But for a few mistakes the jackets could've won the first playoff game in franchise history. Those little mistakes are potentially huge. However, we're good reason, the impact of those mistakes seems magnified when the word Stanley cup playoffs Karpeta just inside the blueline.

But it's one game. And Jack Johnson so eloquently put it, the Penguins have to win four.

Mistakes can be corrected.. That is probably why--for the first time ever, I think--I don't mind having an extra day off in between the first two games of the series. This is my absolute favorite time of the year, and I typically see that extra day off as a needless interruption.

No one panicking.

This series will be split one the final Jorah goes off Saturday night the jackets have to win two in Pittsburgh, because it is a good bet the and will manage to steal one in nationwide. At some point in the series.

So it's a good idea for the jackets to get that first W in CONSOL now.

Some of you reading this be a team with an 0-5 playoff record overall.

I see a team awakened -- perhaps rudely, but awakened.

Go Jackets!

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