Hobey Baker winner LeBlanc doesn’t expect to play for ‘Hawks

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Chicago fans hoping to see Drew LeBlanc in the lineup this year might end up disappointed.

On Monday, the 2013 Hobey Baker winner told the Chicago Sun-Times he doesn’t expect to suit up for the ‘Hawks this season, having only joined the club one day after his collegiate career ended.

“No,” LeBlanc replied when asked if he expected to see any playing time. “I’m just here to work hard, have fun, take it all in, learn what it’s like to be a professional and get as many pointers as possible.”

On Friday, LeBlanc beat out Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau and Quinnipiac’s Eric Hartzell to capture the Hobey, becoming the first St. Cloud State player to ever win the award.

The 23-year-old was the WCHA’s Player and Student Athlete of the Year in 2013, leading the Huskies to their first-ever Frozen Four appearance.

He also led the country with 37 assists this year and finished seventh in the nation in points, with 50.

As for his pro career…well, he’s in a bit of limbo at the moment due to the timing of his contract (he signed a one-year deal on Apr. 12).

LeBlanc’s ineligible to join AHL Rockford because he signed after the trade deadline, and is also ineligible for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

As such, the ‘Hawks plan on monitoring him during practices and workouts to decide if they want to renew his deal this summer, when he’ll become a restricted free agent.

“This is a professional organization from the top down,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “They have a good reputation for developing young players and I hope to be one of those guys.”

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.