Carter on returning to Columbus: “I came in here with an open mind”

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It promises to be an awkward affair for Jeff Carter on Thursday when the Los Angeles Kings face the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

Carter’s brief, acrimonious stint in Ohio — he was with the Jackets for eight months — was a predominant storyline this season. There were numerous reports he didn’t like the trade that brought him to Columbus and that he never felt comfortable there, something Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider asked him about.

Question: There’s a segment of the (Columbus) fan base, as you know, that has the opinion that you never really wanted to be here? What would you say to people who think that?

Carter: I think that’s tough to say. I don’t know if that’s completely true. Obviously when I got traded from Philly, it was hard on me, something that I didn’t expect. Over time, you get over that. I came in here [Columbus] with an open mind. There were a lot of expectations around the team, from the fans and the city and stuff like that.

For whatever reason, it didn’t really work out that way, and things just started to snowball from there. When you’re losing games, like we did, and giving up leads late, it’s pretty tough on guys. It’s hard to kind of keep going. It was a tough year.

As for the reaction he expects from Blue Jackets fans?

“[Laughs] I don’t know. We’ll see what happens there,” Carter said. “It’s going to be interesting.’’

Lost in the Carter hoopla is that Columbus has won three straight games…yes, National Hockey League games! The Jackets first defeated the Avalanche — then the Coyotes in back-to-back contests — for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

This is a testament 1) to how well they’ve played of late, and 2) how miserable this season has been for BJs fans. It took until Mar. 6 for Columbus to get a three-game winning streak, and two of ’em came against the Coyotes. What a year.