Columbus introduces Davidson, who has “full authority and autonomy over the competition side” of team


On Wednesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets presented John Davidson as their new President of Hockey Operations — and presented a new direction for the franchise as well.

In speaking to the assembled media, team president Mike Priest said part of building a “world-class organization” in Columbus included handing the hockey decision-making reins to Davidson.

“[He’ll] have full authority and autonomy over the competition side of our organization,” Priest said.

The obvious follow-up question to that statement is: How will it impact general manager Scott Howson?

Howson has served as GM since 2007 and, on his watch, Columbus has achieved extreme highs and lows.

The Jackets made their first (and only) playoff appearance in 2009, but also stumbled to a 65-point season a year ago — the third-worst total in franchise history.

As for being competitive? Columbus isn’t.

The Jackets finished dead last in the Central Division for three straight seasons and given Davidson’s now in charge of the “competition side”…well, you do the math.

Howson’s future is also murky given the presence not just of Davidson, but also Craig Patrick.

Patrick was hired in December of last year as the Senior Advisor to Hockey Operations, meaning the Columbus front office is now loaded with experienced hockey men and decision makers.

Oh, and speaking of hockey decisions, an interesting note from the Davidson presser — when asked what areas the team needs to improve, the former goalie replied: “When you keep the puck out of the net, it sure helps.”

Howson has received a large amount of criticism for his faith in goalie Steve Mason, who’s struggled mightily after being nominated for the Vezina and winning the Calder in 2009. Howson signed Mason to a two-year, $5.8 million contract extension in 2010, and that extension expires at the end of this season.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: