Nathan Horton’s original explanation for leaving the Boston Bruins for the Columbus Blue Jackets is his preference for a quieter, more private lifestyle. It appears that either was a PR-friendly reason, or just a part of the story.
“All year, nothing happened. I waited for a long time,” Horton said. “When you wait until the last minute, what am I … I’m not going to wait around. I’m happy with the way things turned out. It just came down to, at the end, for my family, I wanted a place where my kids could be outside.”
Horton isn’t done rehabbing shoulder surgery, but he’s definitely on board with Columbus, calling the Blue Jackets an up-and-coming team.
He admits that his time with Boston was still special, though.
“Obviously I enjoyed my time in Boston. I still talk to [Milan Lucic] and most of the guys on the team,” said Horton. “When you win a Stanley Cup with everyone, you never forget it. It’s a big part of your life.”
Apparently he didn’t feel that the Bruins organization believed he was a big enough part of their team, though. With the obvious exception of Tuukka Rask, Chiarelli has been proactive regarding signing core guys to extensions with plenty of time before their current deals expire, so maybe Horton has a point.
Whether Boston really wanted him back or not, he’s now in Columbus, and seems glad to be there.
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)