Gregory Campbell

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Blue Jackets place Campbell on unconditional waivers

Gregory Campbell‘s time with the Columbus Blue Jackets appears at an end.

On Saturday, the Blue Jackets reportedly put the 33-year-old veteran forward on unconditional waivers. The club will terminate his contract if he clears waivers tomorrow, per Rob Mixer of the Blue Jackets. That would make Campbell an unrestricted free agent.

Campbell played only one season in Columbus, with three goals and 11 points in 82 games last season.

The club opted to put him on waivers before the start of this season. He cleared but didn’t report to the American Hockey League — his agent, Pat Morris, said his client wouldn’t go to the AHL to take a job away from a younger player — resulting in a suspension from the Blue Jackets.

Meanwhile, the red-hot Blue Jackets are on the road against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Columbus is searching for its ninth consecutive win. Head coach John Tortorella could also earn his 500th career win — against the same team that fired him at the end of a disastrous 2013-14 season.

Michalek, Condra, Scuderi among notable vets on waivers

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NHL clubs continued to shuffle their decks today in advance of Tuesday’s roster deadline, which resulted in several older, familiar names on the waiver wire.

A quick rundown:

— Arizona waived longtime blueliner Zbynek Michalek. Michalek, 33, is in the last of a two-year, $6.4 million deal with a $3.2M average annual cap hit, and averaged just over 17 minutes a night in 70 games last year. This move could mean that Jakob Chychrun, the 16th overall pick at this year’s draft, will make the Coyotes’ opening-night roster.

— Just one year after signing a three-year, $3.75 million deal with the Bolts, Erik Condra is on waivers. The 30-year-old winger was a disappointment last season, with just 11 points in 54 games, and appeared to be in a battle for a roster spot throughout the preseason. With reports that GM Steve Yzerman is close to signing star RFA Nikita Kucherov, it’s possible Condra’s contract is buried in the AHL to squeeze a few extra dollars under the cap. Assuming Condra clears waivers, that is.

Rob Scuderi, heading into the last of a four-year, $13.5 million deal that’s been passed around like a hot potato, has been waived by Los Angeles. The 37-year-old originally signed the deal with Pittsburgh, but was then traded to Chicago, and then again to L.A. (the Pens retained most of his salary). Last year he suited up for all three teams, going goalless with 10 points in 63 games. He also appeared in all five of the Kings’ playoff games in an opening-round loss to San Jose, averaging 19:20 TOI per night.

Other notables:

— Calgary dumped tough guy Brandon Bollig, who has one year left on his three-year, $3.75 million deal.

— The Habs did the expected and waived goalie Mike Condon. Condon lost his backup gig to Al Montoya.

— Columbus exposed Gregory Campbell to the wire, with the 32-year-old midway through his two-year, $3 million deal. This comes after Campbell played all 82 games last year, scoring 11 points.

— In addition to Condra, the Bolts also waived Cory Conacher. Conacher was brought back to the organization this year after spending some time in Europe, in the hopes of rediscovering chemistry with head coach Jon Cooper.

Related:

Isles waive Parenteau in surprise move

Jets put Pavelec on the wire

Paille signs with Swedish club Brynäs

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Dan Paille is off to Sweden. The 32-year-old forward has signed with Brynäs IF of the SHL, according to the club’s website.

Paille spent most of 2015-16 in the AHL, but did play 12 games for the New York Rangers, with whom he failed to register a point.

The 20th overall draft pick in 2002, Paille appeared in 582 NHL games with the Sabres, Bruins and Rangers. He won the Stanley Cup in 2011, skating with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell on Boston’s fourth line, a.k.a. the ‘Merlot Line’.

Related: Farewell, Merlot: Bruins parting ways with Paille, Campbell

Rangers beat Jackets, clinch sixth straight playoff berth

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan each scored their 20th goals and had an assist, and the New York Rangers hung on to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 Monday night to earn a sixth-consecutive playoff berth.

Dan Boyle and Mats Zuccarello also scored for the Rangers, who snapped a three-game skid and moved three points behind second-place Pittsburgh. They remain two points ahead of the fourth-place Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.

The Rangers clinched playing down a defenseman most of the way. Captain Ryan McDonagh was injured blocking a shot early in the first period and left the game.

Henrik Lundqvist made 27 stops for his 34th win.

Nick Foligno scored twice for Columbus, which pulled within one with 9:15 remaining before conceding an empty-net goal.

The Blue Jackets were again without former Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovksy, who was a healthy scratch by coach John Tortorella in favor of impressive rookie Joonas Korpisalo. The 21-year-old made 26 saves.

The Rangers finally got off to a good start, scoring the first two goals of the game. On the attack with speed, Kreider took a drop pass from Stepan – who picked up his 300th career point – in traffic and fired a low shot that Korpisalo couldn’t control. Sliding on his knees and with Dalton Prout on his back, Kreider was able to get the rebound and score on the backhand at 6:17 of the first period.

Early in the second, Columbus had trouble clearing its own zone. The puck came to Boyle and he glided to the net before sneaking a shot under Korpisalo at 5:28 0.

Foligno cut the lead to one at 14:41, deflecting David Savard‘s shot in front of Lundqvist for his first goal in 16 games.

Four minutes later, Kreider forced a turnover to create an odd-man break and found Zuccarello, who scored from the slot for his career-high 26th goal to make it 3-1.

Columbus made it interesting late in the third period when Foligno scored his 11th on a nice individual effort around Kevin Klein before tucking the puck behind Lundqvist with 9:15 remaining.

Zuccarello was sent off for high-sticking Foligno with 2:03 remaining, but Stepan scored into an empty net with 1:11 left to end the Blue Jackets’ comeback bid.

NOTES: The Rangers host Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and then play the visiting Islanders and Detroit to finish the season. … Tortorella also scratched 15-year veteran Scott Hartnell for the third time this season. Hartnell has one goal and is a minus 10 in his last 13 games. … New York swept the four-game season series. … Blue Jackets C Gregory Campbell played his 800th career game. … Lundqvist earned his fourth assist of the season on Kreider’s goal to tie his season high. He has 21 career assists. … Columbus D Cody Goloubef left the game in the first period with an oblique injury.

Wideman text message saga takes another turn

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One of the most contentious issues in Dennis Wideman‘s appeal of a 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman obtaining Wideman’s cell phone and text records, and using them as evidence — has become a real can of worms.

The latest issue? Who exactly Wideman was in conversation with.

The key text message in question, where Wideman wrote “the only reason I’m here is the stupid refs and stupid media,” was sent to Flames captain Mark Giordano, the NHL told TSN.

But in Wideman’s appeal to third-party neutral arbitrator James Oldham, Oldham — who reduced the suspension to 10 games — suggested the text was sent to Columbus forward Gregory Campbell.

That’s Gregory Campbell, the son of NHL senior VP Colin Campbell, who handed down the 20-game suspension.

So yeah.

Awkward.

Appropriately, the parties involved have engaged in something resembling a game of telephone to explain their positions. In a fairly lengthy interview with the Dispatch, Gregory Campbell admitted he exchanged texts with his “good friend” Wideman following the incident.

More:

“Obviously my dad made the ruling. Dennis leaned on me for support. As a friend and as a player, I support Dennis. I know what kind of person he is.

“They took his phone and they had exchanges between him and I on the phone.”

Campbell and Wideman have never played together, but they’re part of the same workout group and spend their off-seasons in the same Canadian city.

“He knew my dad was doing the hearing and wanted to lean on me for support,” Campbell said. “I fully supported Dennis. I know it’s a tough call, but I know the type of person he is. I didn’t think it was intentional.”

Campbell said he doesn’t recall the specifics of his conversations with Wideman, so there’s no way of knowing if he received a “stupid refs, stupid media” text.

Wideman, in a conversation with Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, lent credence to notion Giordano was the one that received the text in question:

(It should be noted the possibility exists that Campbell and Giordano received the same type of “stupid refs, stupid media” text, and that both may have been accessed by Bettman and Oldham.)

Regardless of who received the text in question, or how it was analyzed and interpreted, this whole situation has cast further doubt on the appeal process.

There’s some serious undermining at hand, and one has to think everything — especially the “turn over your cell phone” part — will be scrutinized when (or, if) the NHL and NHLPA decide to review how the suspension appeal process works.

Related: NHL Officials’ Association ‘strongly disagrees’ with the decision to reduce Wideman’s suspension