Carter-Johnson deal seemingly leaves everyone happy

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It’s human nature to simply transfer a player’s numbers to another team after a trade, but the human element tends to get lost in the shuffle. After all, NHL teams aren’t just acquiring X amount of points; they’re also adding any number of quirks, insecurities and other traits to the equation.*

When the Philadelphia Flyers traded Jeff Carter to Columbus, he was nakedly devastated. It took him an unusually long time to make a public statement on the matter, so the natural question after his latest trade is how he feels. It’s also tough not to wonder if Jack Johnson might react in a similar way to going from a contender to a pretender.

If you believe public statements, then the verdict is: everyone’s happier than the characters in a schlocky Robert De Niro movie.

Carter: satisfied to little surprise

Naturally GM Dean Lombardi released a glowing statement, but Carter didn’t hesitate to voice his approval, as you can see in this NHL.com article.

“I am obviously excited,” Carter told the Kings’ website. “I am familiar with the team and a lot of guys on the team. I looked at the Kings at the start of the year as being a club in a good position to win. I look forward to coming to L.A. and being a part of it all.”

Imaginary Carter added: “Seriously, there’s a ridiculous amount of Philadelphia Flyers on this team!”

My guess is that the Kings were either No. 1 on his wish list or at least in the top five. The only drawbacks one could imagine probably revolve around a) having to answer inevitable questions about partying with Richards and b) all the pressure that comes from a tenuous playoff run.

Here’s video of Lombardi’s reaction:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Johnson: also quite pleased

Some might be surprised that Johnson seemed pretty happy, but if you look at some of his time with the Kings, it shouldn’t be that surprising. Lombardi was quite frank about Johnson’s NCAA days, as he basically said that Red Berenson allowed him to roam freely instead of learning to play a disciplined defensive style at Michigan.

Eric Smith reports that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said Johnson is “over-the-top” excited about the deal while Aaron Portzline captured these comments from the defenseman:

“I am excited by this, to go to a team that wants me and to play in a great sports city,” Johnson said. “I’m a mid-western boy at heart.”

Key phrase: “A team that wants me.”

Howson on the aborted Carter era

To close things out, Portzline gathered this interesting thought from Howson on Carter’s short stay in Columbus.

“I don’t regret the move (to acquire Carter),” Howson said. “I regret how it turned out. But that’s the nature of pro sports. You move on.”

***

All things considered, it seems like everyone is moving on with a solid burst of optimism. Logically speaking, I must say that those rave reviews seem genuine, but do you buy them?

* – They’re also separating players from former linemates, which can have little-to-no impact or drastically change an individual’s ceiling.

Donald Trump tweets about Penguins’ White House visit

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Earlier today, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they would accept an invitation to visit the White House. You can read all about that here, including the Penguins’ brief statement on the matter.

On a day in which NFL teams are drawing attention for how players (and owners) are acting during the national anthem, Donald Trump took a moment to confirm the Penguins’ visit, and also to praise them on Twitter.

Trump issued this tweet on the matter:

This came about four minutes after he addressed the NFL once again, finishing with this tweet:

While NHL players haven’t been as outspoken as athletes in other sports, there have been some reactions to Colin Kaepernick and the situation as a whole.

A year ago, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella said he would bench a player who sits during the anthem, something Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones stated was not a problem. Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown, however, did have an issue with Tortorella’s stance.

Of course, those comments surfaced about a year ago, so it’s plausible one or more of those opinions might be different, in either large or small ways, as of today.

Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (one of the standouts of the 2010 U.S. Olympic men’s team) criticized Trump on Twitter last night:

The 2017-18 regular season kicks off on Oct. 4, so we’ll see if there are any larger protests or statements from teams and/or players.

For more on how this situation is playing out with other sports, check Pro Football Talk (including this post), Pro Basketball Talk (Mark Cuban’s comments are the latest there), Hardball Talk (noting that Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel during the anthem), and other sites under the NBC umbrella.

Bruised Blues: Add Robby Fabbri to a worrisome list for St. Louis

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It sure looks like the St. Louis Blues are going to limp into the 2017-18 season (sometimes literally).

The team announced that promising young forward Robby Fabbri will miss the remainder of training camp after injuring his surgically repaired left knee. The Blues say that they will re-evaluate Fabbri, 21, in 10 days.

It’s difficult to say how bad this issue is, but knee injuries – particularly involving knees that are already problems for athletes – can be tricky.

Even if this is a mere short-term setback, it’s staggering how long the Blues’ injury list is even before their season-opener.

Alex Steen was ruled out of training camp (and possibly beyond) just days ago because of a hand injury. Zach Sanford‘s push toward being an NHL regular is on hold thanks to being sidelined for multiple months with a shoulder issue, while a fractured ankle puts Jay Bouwmeester‘s 2017-18 season in some question, too. (More on Sanford and Bouwmeester here.)

Patrik Berglund might not be back until late 2017 or even into 2018 with his own shoulder issues.

While such injuries open up opportunities for younger players to make even temporary jumps, it’s tough to stomach as Mike Yeo preps for his first full season behind the Blues bench.

In Fabbri’s case, this is a considerable disappointment, as he was starting to show the zip at the NHL level that’s made him such a prolific scorer in the OHL. Here’s hoping he gets over these issues, as considering his size, a significant loss in speed could be a serious problem for Fabbri.

Coyotes want to retire Shane Doan’s number in the future

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After more than two decades the Arizona Coyotes and Shane Doan parted ways this offseason, ultimately resulting in the 40-year-old forward retiring from the league.

The decision to part ways with Doan was part of a massive overhaul that dramatically changed the outlook of the team, ending a lengthy chapter in its history.

The Coyotes would eventually like to honor Doan by retiring his number “at a time that is right for him.”

That is what team owner Andrew Barroway said at a Coyotes’ town hall meeting, via Sarah McLellan.

“The relationship with Shane Doan has improved,” Barroway said. “We’ve reached out. We’ve spoken with Shane. Everyone loves him. He’s a class act, great guy.”

There are no plans for any sort of an official announcement this season, but Barroway said the Coyotes will revisit it next summer.

Doan spent is entire career playing for the Coyotes organization dating back to its days in Winnipeg (he played one season with the original Jets). During his career he appeared in 1,540 regular season games, scoring 402 goals, 570 assists and 972 total points. He is the team’s all-time leader in games played, goals, assists, total points, even strength goals, power play goals, and shots on goal.

Penguins announce they will accept White House invite

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One day after the NBA champion Golden State Warriors announced that they would use their trip to Washington this season to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion in lieu of a White House visit, the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins issued a statement announcing they have accepted an invite to visit the White House again this year.

The Statement from the Penguins reads as follows.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins respect the institution of the Office of the President, and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House. We attended White House ceremonies after previous championships – touring the historic building and visiting briefly with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama – and have accepted an invitation to attend again this year.

Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.”

This comes on the same weekend that players across professional sports, from the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, have been speaking out and taking part in unprecedented protests against racial inequality and comments from the President that players that do not stand for the National Anthem should be fired.

During the early Sunday NFL game in London several players from the Baltimore Ravens took a knee during the National Anthem, while Jaguars owner Shad Khan stood and locked arms with his players. Those protests are expected to continue throughout the day.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have chosen to not participate in the National Anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears, instead choosing to remain in the locker room.