Tag: Ryan Johansen

Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche

PHT Morning Skate: Hockey fans celebrate National Dog Day


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

It’s looking more and more like Eric Staal and Cam Ward will enter the Carolina Hurricanes’ training camp without new contracts. (News & Observer)

Armed with a tryout contract, Tom Sestito hopes to earn a job with the Pittsburgh Penguins out of training camp so that he can “deter a guy from taking a run at the 90,000 stars on the team.” (Penguins.nhl.com)

The ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors have changed their name to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Their new logo features a rabbit who is wielding a mix between a hockey stick and carrot. (Greenville Online)

The Edmonton Oilers might be a significantly different team with a new bench boss, substantially changed front office, and a new hope in Connor McDavid, but one thing Andrew Ference doesn’t expect to change is his position as the team’s captain. (Edmonton Journal)

Ryan Johansen threw out the first pitch for Cincinnati on Monday and that event gave him a chance to talk with the Reds players about the differences and similarities between the two sports. (Bluejackets.nhl.com)

Finally, it was National Dog Day on Wednesday and that involved a lot of hockey-themed pictures. Here are some of the highlights:

Can the Blue Jackets justify their big spending?

Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets

Much of the narrative surrounding the Columbus Blue Jackets revolves around what this team can do with even a reasonably clean bill of health. It overshadows a key question, though: can they live up to the hype?

The Columbus Dispatch’s Michael Arace shines a light on this situation, as the market isn’t accustomed to the Blue Jackets coming into a season with such aspirations.

So, Jackets fans ought to doff their cap to majority owner John P. McConnell. Whatever else one might say about the man, he has been willing to spend on talent. That is all one can ask of an owner. The rest is on management and on the players.

The first and last time the Jackets were a “cap team” was in 2011-12, after the big-ticket acquisitions of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski. That team was a chic midsummer pick, too. Carter was a dog and begged out of town, but not before he poisoned the locker room. Then, Rick Nash asked for a trade for the (cough, cough) betterment of the franchise. That season was a disaster.

Interesting stuff, and it really does spotlight something many haven’t considered: the stakes are pretty high for this edition of the Blue Jackets.

Married to some pricey players

The Blue Jackets are under pressure to show that this roster will be competitive both in 2015-16 and in the future, as a ton of their contracts are hefty and long-term.

Brandon Saad ($6 million), Brandon Dubinsky ($5.8M), Nick Foligno ($5.5M), David Clarkson ($5.25M) and Scott Hartnell ($4.75M) all boast contracts that run through 2018-19 or later. Sergei Bobrovsky ranks as one of the NHL’s most expensive goalies with his $7.425 million cap hit. Ryan Johansen’s a huge steal right now at a $4 million mark, but a big upgrade is looming as his deal expires after the 2016-17 campaign.


Long story short, the picture is pretty clear. The injury angle screams “plenty of room to improve,” yet the Blue Jackets aren’t exactly in a place where they have nothing to lose.

In fact, the franchise might not be able to afford another disappointing season, lucky or not.

Teacher-pest: Blue Jackets add Jarkko Ruutu to staff

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The Columbus Blue Jackets already valued their image as “little rats,” and now it sounds like they’ll get to learn from one of the biggest pests. The Blue Jackets hired Jarkko Ruutu as a scout and European player development coach on July 2.

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen explained to the Columbus Dispatch why he hired the former pot-stirring forward.

“I absolutely want a person and a player like Jarkko around our young guys,” Kekalainen said. “This is a guy who worked his (butt) off and did everything he could to get to the league and stay there.

“His work ethic earned him everything he’s got. There’s a great lesson there.”

They might not need many lessons in chirping, though, at least ones that current roster players couldn’t already provide.

One assumes that the likes of Scott Hartnell could make fun of people almost as well as he can mock himself. We’ve already seen what happens when people rub Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky the wrong way.

Others will need to scratch and claw to make an increasingly impressive roster, so perhaps Ruutu can impart some useful wisdom on those trying to find a way.

Boy, the Blue Jackets aren’t exactly taking Reilly rejection in stride

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Not every Columbus Blue Jackets player has submitted a bitter tweet about Mike Reilly signing with the Minnesota Wild (yet?), but a couple of them are coming across as jilted lovers.

It started out with what almost felt like a “subtweet” on June 17, as Ryan Johansen simply said “We didn’t want him anyway.”

Apparently that bitterness lingered over the holiday weekend, as Brandon Dubinsky (pictured fighting Sidney Crosby in the main image) chimed in last night.

(The #burntbridges hash tag seems like the height of the “sour grapes” angle, at least if you’re looking at this in terms of a bitter breakup.)

Dubinsky’s tweet prompted plenty of responses, and he even had a little give-and-take:

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo wondered if, erm, the holiday spirit(s) might have been involved:

(Dubinsky is from Alaska, so he may have been celebrating the Fourth of July. Just saying …)

Anyway, it’s all in salty-good fun, right? The Blue Jackets face Minnesota in a preseason game on Sep. 24, then in two regular season contests on Oct. 22 and Jan. 5. Perhaps we’ll see at least one contest that features Reilly, Johansen and Dubinsky entering on-ice @-replies, then?

Maybe Dubinsky’s just bitter about this “coaching decision,” though:

Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets


He’s only 22 years old. Yet twice already in his young career, Brandon Saad has hoisted the Stanley Cup as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Traded to Columbus on Tuesday, Saad officially signed a six-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jackets on Friday.

Speaking to reporters in a conference call, Saad said he was “pretty certain” during the last few days since the blockbuster trade that a deal would get done with the Blue Jackets.

Despite his young age, he brings championship experience to a franchise that has made the playoffs only twice in its history.

Tuesday’s trade marked the end of Saad’s tenure in Chicago, a hockey market that has undergone a revival in the last 10 years and celebrated three championships in six years with the nucleus of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

Saad believes his time in Chicago has been vital to the evolution of his career. He scored twice in the Stanley Cup Final, including the winner in Game 4. The Blackhawks never looked back from there.

“Just the experience of being there and going on deep playoff runs and being able to win … it’s really helped my game grow,” he said.

“It’s really incredible for my career. It’s really helped me progress along and I can’t thank them enough.”

It has already been talked about that Saad, coming off a career best 23 goals and 52 points this past season in Chicago, could play on the wing on a line with 22-year-old center Ryan Johansen, who also established a career best in points with 71.

“I’m not sure who I’m going to be playing with and we’ll deal with that when it comes but they’ve got a lot of talented guys and I know playing against them, for how hard they work and the type of system, they’re tough to play against,” said Saad, adding he’s played mostly on the left wing during his NHL career, but is familiar on the right side, too.

“With that talent and skill on top of that, it makes them lethal and I’m happy to be a part of the team now.”