Tag: Adrian Aucoin


Blue Jackets’ defense gets thinner with Wisniewski injury


Even when healthy, the Columbus Blue Jackets rank as underdogs to many, so they face tough odds in their current situation.

The team’s defense is in particular trouble after James Wisniewski* suffered a possible concussion on Saturday, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. This compounds earlier problems as Nikita Nikitin and Adrian Aucoin were already sidelined with lower-body injuries.

(Columbus announced on Sunday that Nikitin, 26, has been placed on the injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 29.)

GM Scott Howson has already had to insert younger blueliners such as David Savard, 22, and Tim Erixon, 21, into the lineup and now he’s calling upon Nick Holden, 25.

It might not be a short-term patchwork situation, either; Howson told Portzline that injuries might extend beyond their next game on Tuesday versus the Los Angeles Kings.

The greatest burden could fall upon 26-year-old defenseman Jack Johnson, who played just a second under 35 minutes (!) in Saturday’s 4-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

Offensively, Portzline reports that 23-year-old forwards Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson resumed skating, although Atkinson is still likely a week away.

* – Portzline reports that the team will evaluate Wisniewski, 28, further on Monday.

Banged-up Blue Jackets: Atkinson to miss 2-3 more weeks


The good news is that the Columbus Blue Jackets are about to start a six-game homestand. The bad news is that they’ll limp into it.

First things first, the latest update on 23-year-old forward Cam Atkinson isn’t too promising. His high-ankle sprain will keep him out two-to-three more weeks, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. High-ankle sprains can be tough to gauge, though, so it could be even more of a pain for Atkinson if his recovery don’t go as well as anticipated.

That isn’t the only burden on the Blue Jackets’ lineup, as the team will look a little younger thanks to injuries.

Defensemen Nikita Nikitin and Adrian Aucoin were injured during Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, opening up minor league call-ups for blueliner Tim Erixon and undersized winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.

Erixon, 21, was one of the pieces involved in the Rick Nash trade. He’s a first-rounder who played 18 games for the New York Rangers last season, so it’s likely that he’ll be a full-time guy with Columbus sooner rather than later. David Savard, 22, is the other blueliner expected to step in the lineup.

Audy-Marchessault, 22, will make his NHL debut and could be the Blue Jackets’ answer to Cory Conacher. He generated great numbers (45 points in 42 games) with the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, so perhaps he can translate that strong work to help Columbus fight off this rash of injuries.

Speaking of which, depth winger Matt Calvert is also banged up, as an upper-body injury placed him on the IR.

The Blue Jackets’ homestand begins against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Adrian Aucoin uprooted to Columbus, yet might never play there

Adrian Aucoin

In one of the stranger lockout twists, veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin could end up being a Blue Jacket in name only.

That’s something the 39-year-old acknowledged in speaking with the Columbus Dispatch over the weekend.

“Like it or not, I have to think about it,” he told the paper. “In a perfect world, I’d play forever.”

Aucoin’s current situation is far from perfect.

After spending the last three years in Phoenix, he signed a one-year, $2 million deal with Columbus at the start of free agency, to (theoretically) provide experience on a young defense that would (theoretically) feature Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon and John Moore.

But that plan’s gone awry.

In November, Aucoin acknowledged his future might’ve gone awry too, telling the Dispatch losing the season means a “huge possibility” for his retirement.

“I’m not naive,” he said at the time. “I think we all saw what happened [with the last lockout], and there’s really no reason to think it would be different.”

What’s more, Aucoin didn’t just move to Columbus — he brought the whole family along with him. His wife and five children relocated to the Midwest, a decision based largely on Aucoin’s research.

“One guy I keep in touch with is Freddy Modin and he still lives in Columbus, which is a surprise because most Swedish guys go home as soon as they’re done,” Aucoin explained. “The conversations I’ve had over the years with guys like Luke Richardson and Scott Lachance and Ray Whitney — these guys had nothing bad to say about it.

“They all said when the hockey gets on track, it’d be one of the better places in the league to play.”

Aucoin isn’t the only veteran realizing the lockout could end his career. Jamie Langenbrunner spoke about the possibility, as have Edmonton’s Andy Sutton and Boston’s Shawn Thornton.

Older players realize that a year away from the game can essentially force a curtain call, which would be too bad for Aucoin, who really wants to play for the Jackets.

“My older daughter doesn’t want to leave Columbus,” he said. “My 10-year-old plays hockey, so he has a team and a set of friends. His buddies know I’m on the Blue Jackets and they want to see me play.

“They ask me when the lockout is going to end.”

Blues’ Langenbrunner: Lockout has prepared me for retirement

jamie langenbrunner

With 17 seasons and over 1100 games on his resume, Jamie Langenbrunner’s had a highly successful NHL career.

As such, he’s prepared to deal with retirement…even if it’s not on his terms.

The 37-year-old inked a one-year, $1.25 million contract with St. Louis this summer, a deal described by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford as one that “could be the swan song” of Langenbrunner’s career.

Langenbrunner agreed, adding that the lockout has gotten him used to life without hockey.

“I think this time also prepares you for it,” he told the Post-Dispatch. “I’ve gotten involved in coaching the kids’ teams and quite frankly, I’ve gotten to enjoy that aspect of it.

“You realize there is going to be an end to this [lockout] at some point. But it makes me feel when the end [of his career] does come, I’ll be prepared for that.”

It’s been referenced that, following the 2004-05 lockout, over 200 players never made it back to the NHL (though that number has since been dissected by the Edmonton Journal.)

This lockout has already seen a number of veterans linked to potential retirement — predominantly, star players like Daniel Alfredsson, Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr.

But there are other veteran role players in a similar boat. Andy Sutton, set to undergo his 12th surgery, has suggested the end might be near. Columbus defenseman Adrian Aucoin, 39, said retirement is “a huge possibility.” Boston tough guy Shawn Thornton said he’s “probably done” if the lockout kills the season. Jaro Spacek recently announced that he’s called it a day.

Langenbrunner’s a unique case because while he’s not a star, he’s not exactly your run-of-the-mill journeyman. A two-time Stanley Cup champ that captained both the New Jersey Devils and U.S. Olympic team, Langenbrunner’s veteran presence and leadership skills are a big reason why Blues GM Doug Armstrong brought him to St. Louis in the first place.

So yeah, the future is murky. But regardless if this is his last year or not, Langenbrunner is certain of one thing — solving the lockout shouldn’t be this difficult.

“It’s frustrating, but unfortunately it’s what this business has turned into the last 15 years,” he said. “Fights over stuff that maybe shouldn’t be that hard to figure out.”

Crosby, Doan among attendees at week-long camp in Arizona

Crosby Doan

The desert has been a hotbed of hockey activity lately.

On Tuesday, prospective owner Greg Jamison moved one huge, crucial step closer to buying the Phoenix Coyotes and, that same day, a collection of locked-out NHLers descended on Scottsdale for an impromptu camp.

Here’s more, from the Arizona Republic:

The Ice Den in Scottsdale has been the lockout destination for many Coyotes players, but now they’ve recruited some of their peers from around the league to participate in training sessions this week.

About 30 players are practicing and scrimmaging against each other. Only a handful of players will skate on Wednesday, but the entire group — which has been split up into two teams — will be back on the ice Thursday and Friday. Penguins star Sidney Crosby is expected to join the skates at the end of the week.

“Word’s getting out it’s a pretty good spot to be during this time,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.

As far as informal skates go, the Scottsdale one is pretty good.

Goalies: Ryan Miller, Mike Smith

Defensemen: Keith Yandle, Zbynek Michalek, Adrian Aucoin, Ryan Whitney, Mike Komisarek

Forwards: Crosby, Doan, Patrick Marleau, Dan Cleary, Steve Ott, Brenden Morrow, Ray Whitney, Steve Sullivan

Of all the players in attendance, Crosby is (unsurprisingly) the one receiving the most attention — though it’s not just due to his star power.

Talks of Crosby possibly jumping to Europe have been rampant, with some suggesting his involvement in the Scottsdale camp is a warmup to playing in Russia or, potentially, the Swiss league.

“Sidney is seriously looking at his options in Europe,” Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “He needs and wants to play hockey. It will be difficult to go all year without playing after what he’s gone through the last two years.

“Over the next few days I’m going to make more calls and continue to explore Sidney’s options.”


Report: Crosby’s agent talking to teams in Russia, Switzerland

Crosby: “The whole process is frustrating”

Crosby: Why change contract rights of “the most competitive league in the world”?