From dorm rooms to the NHL


Casey Wellman is having a pretty good day today, I imagine. Yesterday
he was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, living the
college dream of frat parties (responsibly of course), mid-terms,
activist rallies and college co-eds. Today, he’s an NHL player.

Minnesota Wild signed Wellman, a center, a two-year contract today, according
to an AP report
. He scored 23 goals this past season with UMass,
and is a natural scorer with a great shot and who was easily the best
goal scorer on his college team.

Normally, college graduates
spend some time in the minors before heading to the NHL but the Wild are
going to have Wellman join the team immediately. Minnesota is most
likely completely out of playoff contention and it seems they feel this
is a great chance for Wellman to jump into the fire and show what he can
do. It’s going to be a big shock, however, to go from facing off
against opponents who are just learning to shave to staring down the
likes of Joe Thornton and Nicklas Lidstrom.

There’s no doubt that
he’ll also provide help for a Wild team that is hurting at the center
position. It’s not everyday that a college player is signed to instantly
boost an NHL team, but Wellman has that opportunity now. I’ll certainly
be watching his first game to see how he does.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.