Rick Nash

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Columbus Blue Jackets

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The Blue Jackets have proven since they started playing in 2000 that getting a look on the ice is a hard thing to do. From insect mascots, stars on the uniform, to oddly phallic new mascots the Blue Jackets have had a hard time with their identity. Here’s to hoping that by embracing the cannon they can latch onto something that will move them forward.

Best: It’s time for me to eat some crow. When the Blue Jackets first unleashed their newest third sweater on the world, I wrote about it here proclaiming it to be too old fashioned, uninspired, and just blah. Just like many things I don’t think about before mouthing off on, I was wrong. The Jackets’ third is an old time lookalike that makes sense for a team that’s trying to pay homage to the Union Army in the Civil War. There are no over-the-top green bugs in a Civil War getup, the Ohio flag isn’t the logo, and the cuffs on the sweater don’t have stars. It’s just a cannon and the team name and a great look.

Worst: Let’s dial it back to the Jackets’ inaugural season. Their team name is all about paying homage to the Civil War and to do that they introduce… A green insect as the mascot. But that’s OK, he’s wearing the Union Army uniform and they made the sweater have a ribbon-like logo on the crest with stars on the cuffs. Whether it was their home or away sweater it was just a confusing look. Good lord, talk about trying too hard to hammer home a theme. Fast forward to the RBK Edge re-design and the bug and the star cuffs are gone. Lots of teams got their look down the right way right off the bat. The Blue Jackets cannot be considered among those teams.

Americana gone wrong: The Winnipeg Jets took some grief for introducing a team logo that was deemed by critics to be “too militaristic” and even “too Canadian,” but the Blue Jackets took the hometown American thing just about as far, just without the modern military influences. With a red, white, and blue color scheme it’s tough to avoid being so seemingly jingoistic, but given the references to the Civil War and the fact they shoot off a cannon at the games, you could say that the Blue Jackets are the most American-themed hockey team since… Well, the New York Americans. Hopefully the Jets’ management takes note what can happen when you get the whole look of the team wrong when it comes to sweater designs by looking at how the Blue Jackets did it when they started in 2000.

Assessment: The Jackets current home and away uniforms are bland by comparison to their third sweater. The Ohio flag-themed logo with the rather dull design of the sweaters when compared to the simple goodness of the third leaves us feeling empty. After all, when your team is named the way it is it can be tough to find a great look. Here’s to hoping they’ll take the third sweater inspiration and run with it for a future re-design.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.

 

Video: Sidney Crosby extends scoring streak to career best seven games

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What is wrong with Sidney Crosby?

His slow start to the season has been well documented. But, um, he’s been on one heck of a roll offensively for some time and the points continue to pile up.

Crosby extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games on Monday, as he gave Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead over the Anaheim Ducks in the second period.

That was goal No. 23 on the season for Crosby. He added No. 24 later in the game on a spectacular individual effort.

Oh, and here’s his second goal of the night. Not bad.

Turris: Public trade requests can be ‘very difficult’ to go through, as Drouin saga drags on

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When it comes to the pressures of trade requests that go public, Kyle Turris can relate to what Jonathan Drouin might be going through.

Of course, Drouin’s request to be dealt from Tampa Bay made its way into the public via his agent, Allan Walsh, earlier this season.

The talented 20-year-old forward and third overall pick in 2013 has since been suspended indefinitely without pay for failing to show up to an AHL game while down in the minors and hasn’t played since Jan. 18.

It’s been a while now, but Turris found himself in a similar situation when, in October of 2011, his agent Curt Overhardt confirmed that the now 26-year-old center wanted to be traded out of Arizona.

Back then, Turris, another third overall pick, was a restricted free agent and had been in contentious contract talks with the Coyotes. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes and was acquired by Ottawa not long after.

He’s been there ever since, with two 20-plus goal seasons.

“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.

“It was very difficult to do. You’re getting a lot of heat from the media and people, and people within the organization. It was a tough, tough go.”

Speaking of heat from the media: In addition to the suspension, Drouin was ripped in a local newspaper column — He’s the kid who quit” was one particular line that stands outfor his request and the drama that ensued from that.

For now, the trade deadline (Feb. 29) approaches and Drouin’s request has yet to be granted.

The wait continues.