Columbus Blue Jackets season ticket sales drop 24.5 percent compared to last summer

badosgoodpun.jpgAfter 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.

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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.

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    Nielsen admits there were ‘some butterflies’ in return to Brooklyn to face Islanders

    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04:  Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders checks Frans Nielsen #51 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at the Barclays Center on December 4, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    NEW YORK (AP) Frans Nielsen admitted he’ll have “some butterflies” when he faces the New York Islanders for the first time since leaving for Detroit as a free agent last summer.

    “For sure it’s not going to be just another game,” Nielsen said Sunday about three hours before the Red Wings faced the Islanders at Barclays Center. “There’s going to be some butterflies for me and some nerves. Hopefully it just gonna take a couple of shifts and I can relax and play my game.”

    The 32-year-old Danish center was drafted by the Islanders in the third round of the 2002 draft, No. 87 overall, and had 119 goals and 230 assists over 10 seasons in New York before signing a six-year, $31.5-milion deal with Detroit.

    Nielsen, one of three players to leave the Islanders in free agency along with Matt Martin (Toronto) and Kyle Okposo (Buffalo), says he wasn’t looking to go elsewhere, but began exploring other options when talks with the Islanders stalled.

    “It wasn’t an easy decision,” he said. “I don’t have anything bad to say about anything here. It dragged out for some reason and got to a point where I got a chance to talk to other teams and kind of realized it might be fun to get a new challenge and try something new.”

    So what does he cherish most about his time in New York?

    “A lot, from playing the first game to scoring the first goal,” Nielsen said. “The first playoff series I was in against Pittsburgh (in 2013). The (Nassau) Coliseum, just how loud it was. I don’t think I’m going to experience that again. To winning a round last year. All the friendships, all the people you met not only with hockey, but away from the rink. … One-third of my life I lived here, so lot of stuff you miss about (not) being here, too.”

    Nielsen said it felt `weird’ flying into town Saturday night after Detroit’s loss at Pittsburgh, and then staying in a hotel nearby. When he arrived at the arena, he saw former teammate Johnny Boychuk by the player’s entrance and jumped in his car for the `two-minute ride’ down to the parking level.

    The Red Wings were in the market for a new center after former star Pavel Datsyuk decided to end his NHL career and return to Russia. Nielsen has fit right in with his new team, totaling six goals and eight assists in 25 games.

    “I love him,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s got inner drive to be great. He’s selfless, he does what it takes to win for the team. He’s an all-around player who plays in most situations for us, penalty kills, power plays, can go up against other teams’ best players. … He’s got lots of experience, he’s a leader-type person. There’s no question he brings a presence just by with the way he handles himself and the type of teammate he is.”

    With the Red Wings remaining in town overnight before flying out to Winnipeg on Monday, Nielsen expected to spend time with some of his former teammates after the game.

    “The friendship you build up with all these people over the years,” Nielsen said. “We had some really tough times and a lot of the guys went through the tough times here where we weren’t winning. Just going from that to building a competitive team, you just build a special bond when you go through that.”

    ‘He has earned the opportunity’ — Coyotes recall 2014 first-round pick Perlini

    Brendan Perlini
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    Brendan Perlini is off to an impressive start this season with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the American Hockey League. The scoring has been there. The production has been there.

    Averaging a point per game with 11 goals through 16 contests in the minors, Perlini is on his way to the NHL. The Arizona Coyotes officially recalled the 20-year-old forward — selected 12th overall in the 2014 draft — from Tuscon on Sunday.

    The rebuilding, youthful Coyotes are last in the Pacific Division right now, stuck with eight wins through 23 games.

    They gave up 60 shots to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday but managed to earn a single point thanks to the play of their goalie Mike Smith.

    The Coyotes are on the road Monday and Tuesday this week. They’ll open this quick trip against Columbus, although it hasn’t been determined when Perlini will get into the lineup.

    But with a back-to-back situation on the road, it seems likely he’ll make his NHL debut at some point in the next two days.

    “Brendan possesses elite speed and goal scoring ability,” said general manager John Chayka. “He has led the AHL in scoring early on and we believe he has earned the opportunity to show what he can do at the NHL level.”

    Video: Tootoo and Thorburn drop the gloves early as Blackhawks, Jets clash

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    Not much in the way of pleasantries between the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

    It started with Jordin Tootoo and Chris Thorburn dropping the gloves just 2:22 into this Central Division contest, with the Jets forward earning the takedown at the end of the scrap.

    Bit of a size mismatch. Tootoo is listed at five-foot-nine-inches and 195 pounds, while Thorburn is six-foot-three-inches tall and 235 pounds.

    Both teams are missing key players in this one.

    Jonathan Toews is once again out of the Chicago lineup — and, it was revealed before Sunday’s game, that he won’t skate for the next few days — while Mark Scheifele misses this game for the Jets.

    Video: Flyers’ Read (upper-body injury) will not return versus Predators

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    Philadelphia Flyers forward Matt Read is done for the night with an upper-body injury, the team announced.

    Read, who only played three shifts today, was hit into the net by Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg during the first period. Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced the veteran forward suffered an upper-body injury.

    There was no call on the play.

    In 26 games this season, Read has six goals and 10 points.