A rare bit of actual hockey news to pass your way…
John Davidson, freshly removed from his post as president of the St. Louis Blues, will be in Columbus this weekend to meet with Blue Jackets owner John P. McConnell and president Mike Priest.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Davidson and his wife will also be given a tour of local neighborhoods and suburbs — a pretty telling development given that, in an interview last weekend, Davidson expressed interest in working for the Blue Jackets.
Here’s more, from the Dispatch:
It’s widely assumed around the NHL that [Davidson] would need the promise of complete autonomy, just as he had with the Blues since joining them as president in 2006.
In that scenario, Davidson would likely assume the title of president of hockey operations, giving him authority of general manager Scott Howson and all hockey decisions. Priest could switch strictly to the business side of the organization, while retaining his rights to serve on the NHL board of governors.
McConnell and Priest have said for more than a year that the Blue Jackets were interested in adding experienced, proven executives to their front office if such a person became available.
If history is any indicator, McConnell and Priest are serious when it comes to bringing aboard veteran hockey folk. The pair added former Penguins and Rangers GM Craig Patrick midway through last season.
This weekend won’t be the first time McConnell and Priest have met with Davidson. The three first gathered on May 29 at Nationwide Arena, a precursor to Davidson agreeing to a contract buyout with the Blues.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier
Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford