After making a surprising (if fruitless) run to the playoffs during the 2008-09 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets had a disastrous campaign last year. It cost them their hard-driving head coach Ken Hitchcock and apparently had a Battlefield Earth-like effect on their ticket sales.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Blue Jackets season ticket sales are down a whopping 24.5 percent from this time last year, a free fall that could be attributed to the team’s mammoth letdown last season.
The Blue Jackets are still feeling the affects of arguably their most disappointing season in franchise history.
The club confirmed to the Dispatch its season ticket sales are down 24.5 percent from a year ago. The organization has sold 7,700 season subscriptions to date — or 2,500 fewer than last year.
A year ago, Jackets’ season-ticket sales spiked for the first time since the 2001-02 season. They also increased corporate sponsorship at a time many sports franchises were losing revenue from that source.
“When we made the playoffs, it’s like it was going to erupt here,” Umberger said. “It’s up to us to get it back to that.”
It probably doesn’t help much that the team really didn’t add anyone significant via unrestricted free agency. Aside from hiring new head coach Scott Arniel, is there anything the organization can point to as a reason why the team will be significantly improved next season? (“The return of Nikita Filatov” probably won’t resonate with casual fans.)
Columbus is betting big that the addition of Arniel and the team’s maturation process will spur internal improvement. The Blue Jackets are up against a serious challenge in a tough Central division that includes the still-potent Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings plus a young St. Louis Blues team that added Jaroslav Halak this summer. We’ll see if their patient (or cash-strapped) yet idle approach will work out. I have some serious doubts about that.
The Buffalo Sabres have recalled forward Justin Bailey from AHL Rochester.
It’s the first time Bailey, a second-round pick in 2013, has ever been called up to the NHL. The 20-year-old joins the big club after piling up 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last eight games for the Americans.
Most Sabres fans will know that Bailey is from Buffalo (technically, Williamsville), the son of former Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey. (To learn more, click on this Buffalo News story from July.)
The Sabres play Thursday in Philadelphia, where Bailey will reportedly make his NHL debut.
To make room for Bailey on Buffalo’s roster, Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.
Thing have gone from bad to weird in Minnesota, where embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo was “disappointed” to see Zenon Konopka’s rabbit holding a sign that read, “YEO MUST GO.”
Hey, we told you things had gotten weird.
Konopka, a former Wild player, took to Twitter last night after Minnesota’s latest loss.
Here’s what Konopka tweeted:
And what did Yeo think about that?
“I really don’t care what he says,” he told the Star Tribune, apparently adding with a laugh, “I will say I was very disappointed to see Hoppy holding that sign.”
Now, according to the newspaper’s Michael Russo, “Konopka and Yeo had a lot of issues behind the scenes and that’s why [Konopka] ended up on waivers two Januarys ago.”
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of Wild fans agree with Hoppy, er, Konopka, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Wild could really, really use a win tomorrow at home to Washington.
Nice work from Artem Anisimov and Matt Niskanen this week, but Connor McDavid‘s tally is on a different level.
You can pretty much bank on McDavid being in Goals of the Year, too. Just saying.
Laurent Brossoit is getting another crack at the NHL.
On Wednesday, the Oilers announced they demoted Anders Nilsson — who, earlier this year, was carrying the starting gig in Edmonton — and recalled Brossoit from AHL Bakersfield.
Brossoit, 22, is an interesting story. Taken in the sixth round of the 2011 draft (164th overall), he’s really made strides over the last year. He made his big-league debut at the end of last season and performed extremely well, making 49 saves on 51 shots in a loss to San Jose.
This year, Brossoit was named an AHL All-Star. He’s posted a 14-8-3 record for the Condors thus far, with a 2.70 GAA and .921 save percentage.
As for Nilsson, his demotion comes after losing the starting gig to Cam Talbot. Nilsson has also struggled to find the good form shown in November, when he made 10 starts and posted a .915 save percentage.
In his last outing, the lanky Swede allowed three goals on 10 shots in an embarrassing 8-1 loss to the Isles.