John Davidson

Plenty of reasons for Jackets fans to be optimistic


John Davidson has a simple philosophy when it comes to building hockey teams.

“You build it one brick at a time. One brick at a time is the only way to go, and that’s what’s going to happen here,” he said upon being introduced as the new President of Hockey Operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“You can only build a franchise by doing it the right way. And if you do it one brick at a time, you’ll solidify your foundation. And once you get there, it should be a good club for a good length of time. And we’re committed to that. There’s no other way to go.”

It sounds easy, but such an approach takes patience. And in a market like Columbus that’s been starved for a winner, patience isn’t an easy sell. Thus, last summer’s wild spending spree that was supposed to reinvigorate the franchise.

We all know how that turned out.

Fortunately for Blue Jackets fans that had to suffer through the embarrassment that was the 2011-12 season, there are plenty of reasons for optimism as the club enters a new era:

—- The hiring of Davidson, an experienced executive that most recently led the turnaround of the St. Louis Blues. No organization can be successful without the right leader. And a guy like Davidson isn’t going to take a job unless he thinks he can win.

—- Youth. In the prospect department, there’s Ryan Murray (19), Ryan Johansen (20), Tim Erixon (21), David Savard (22), and Cam Atkinson (23). Even “veterans” like Artem Anisimov (24), Nick Foligno (24), Jack Johnson (25), Derick Brassard (25), Brandon Dubinsky (26), Nikita Nikitin (26), James Wisniewski (28), Fedor Tyutin (29), and RJ Umberger (30) aren’t old.

—- More youth on the way. Columbus has three first-round picks in the 2013 draft.

If Sergei Bobrovsky (also young at 24 years old) can give the Jackets some half-decent goaltending, there’s no reason they can’t compete for a playoff spot this season (assuming there’s a season).

Beyond that, making the playoffs should be the least of their aspirations.

Related: Davidson has “full authority and autonomy over the competition side” of Blue Jackets

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?