Things have been a bit trying for Jeff Carter of late. The star center was recently traded by the Flyers, a team that signed him to an 11-year $58 million extension, to Columbus. With Carter signing such a long contract and taking himself out of the running for unrestricted free agency until he’s in his mid-30s. That sort of thing can rankle your nerves and Carter is no different.
While the Blue Jackets hadn’t heard from Carter since the trade went down on Thursday afternoon, GM Scott Howson and coach Scott Arniel went to Philadelphia to meet up with the grumpy star player and came away today with an understanding about where everyone stands and to make sure that no ill feelings are being had towards a new situation in Columbus.
Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch has the story about how Carter didn’t want to stick his foot in his mouth when discussing the deal.
“It’s been a tough couple of days,” Carter said. “I spent six years in Philadelphia. I think so highly of the organization. It was a real shot to me.
“My decision to not talk had absolutely nothing to do with being traded to Columbus. I know it’s a team that has struggled in the past, but there’s a great future there, a lot of young players. I’m excited to be there.”
The fact that the Blue Jackets went ahead and sent their GM, head coach, as well as captain Rick Nash says a lot about how serious they were about cooling things off with Carter and helping welcome him into his new team. Of course, things aren’t all peachy for Carter regarding his thoughts about Philadelphia. Portzline has more on that.
In fact, Carter and his agent, Rick Curran, said they were told last week by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren that rumors of a trade involving Carter were not accurate. The trade devastated him, according to people close to Carter.
“It was all about how things were handled in Philadelphia,” he said.
We can go ahead and circle November 5 on our calendars as that’s when the Blue Jackets play the Flyers for their one and only meeting of the season in Philadelphia. We don’t think Philadelphia players will have any ill will towards Columbus in that game, but Carter will be more than motivated to try and put one over on his old team. With how Carter’s been portrayed through this whole ordeal, he’s got a lot to prove to everyone about what sort of player he is.
Jyrki Jokipakka was one of the three Finnish d-men added to the World Cup roster last week but, according to Calgary president Brian Burke, Jokipakka isn’t a lock to play this fall.
“He had hip surgery after the season, and it’s not 100 percent that he’s going to be able to compete in this tournament,” Burke told Sportsnet’s Fan 960. “But the fact he was named recognizes his accomplishments to date, and we’re very proud of [him].”
Jokipakka, acquired in the Kris Russell-to-Dallas deadline trade, appeared in 58 games last year — 18 for the Flames, 40 for the Stars. He finished with two goals and 12 points.
Still only 24 years old, Jokipakka could be a nice piece for the Flames moving forward. He’s 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and was rated highly enough to crack the Finnish roster (granted, the country isn’t overwhelmingly deep on the blueline).
So it’s understandable why the club might be wary of letting him play in the World Cup. In addition to coming off major surgery, Jokipakka is headed into the last of a two-year, $1.8 million deal with a $900,000 average annual cap hit.
Once that expires, he’ll become a restricted free agent.
PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang will play tonight. He confirmed it this morning, albeit in rather unusual circumstances.
Letang did not participate in yesterday’s Media Day at the Stanley Cup Final. He didn’t practice either. The Penguins said it was simply a “maintenance day” for their best defensemen, but when it was learned he would hold a press conference this morning, all of a sudden people started to wonder about his status for Game 1 against the Sharks.
He was asked if he was playing.
So, no problems?
And that was that.
No explanation was provided about yesterday, but Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said a few minutes later that he was confident that Letang would be able to log his usual amount of minutes.
“Very confident,” said Sullivan.
Penguins center Nick Bonino also confirmed that he’ll be able to go tonight. He didn’t skate Saturday or Sunday, but was on the ice this morning.
Jan Bulis, who appeared in 552 games with the Capitals, Canadiens and Canucks, announced his retirement from professional hockey today, per Czech news outlet Ceske Noviny.
Bulis, 38, last played in North America with Vancouver during the 2006-07 campaign, and has since carved out a pretty lengthy career in the KHL, playing for both Mytishchi Atlant and Chelyabinsk Traktor.
Picked 43rd overall by Washington at the 1996 draft, Bulis’ best years came with the Habs. He posted a career-high 20 goals and 40 points in 2005-06 — that year, he also represented the Czechs at the Winter Olympics in Turin (capturing bronze) and at the World Hockey Championships (capturing silver).
It seems there will be no NHL comeback attempt by Alex Semin. At least not in 2016-17.
Instead, Semin has inked a one-year extension with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko.
At 32 years old, Semin still could have a lot of years left in him as a professional hockey player, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played in his last NHL game. Early in his career his talent was clear and demonstrated by some great showings offensively, but he was plagued by inconsistency. In recent years though, he wasn’t so much inconsistent as he was underwhelming.
After being limited to six goals and 19 points in 57 games with Carolina in 2014-15, the one-time 40-goal scorer was bought out of his five-year, $35 million contract just two seasons into it. Montreal took a chance on him for 2015-16, but he only appeared in 15 games with the Canadiens before they put him on unconditional waivers on Dec. 9.
He’s fared better in the KHL though, with five goals and 14 points in 20 regular season games followed by another seven markers and 15 points in 23 playoff contests.