Nathan Horton’s potentially career-threatening injury a blow to Jackets’ playoff hopes

Adam Proteau
Nathan Horton (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

After he signed a seven-year, $37.1-million contract with the Blue Jackets in the summer of 2013, right winger Nathan Horton appeared in only 36 games thanks to injuries to his shoulder and abdomen last season. And Tuesday night, there was even worse news coming out of Columbus: the 29-year-old is dealing with a degenerative back injury that might be career ending.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Horton, who has experienced back issues for several years, felt the problem worsen this summer while training in Florida and has been diagnosed with a serious degeneration of the lower back area. He may be out of action for at least this season, if not for good. There is a surgery he can undergo to address it, but it’s viewed as a last resort and offers no guarantee of success.

“He’s in constant pain,” Horton’s agent Paul Krepelka told the Dispatch. “He’s in constant discomfort.”

The majority of Horton’s $5.3-million-per-season salary will be covered by insurance and he can be placed on long term injured reserve to free up cap space with which to replace him. But that’s easier said than done for Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Read more

Senators’ Lehner absolutely robs Blue Jackets’ Wennberg with stunning stick save

Robin Lehner (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been the weekend of the stick save.

Last night, it was Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper keeping the score knotted at one-apiece with a diving, swatting stick save on a puck that was redirected on goal by teammate Jonas Brodin’s skate.

Robin Lehner must have caught the clip because he tried his hand at one of his own.

In Saturday’s contest against Columbus, the Blue Jackets moved the puck around behind the net and right winger Jack Skille moved the puck to defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Savard let a shot go that deflected off of a Senator and landed right on the waiting stick of Alexander Wennberg.

Wennberg is going to want that one back.

The save was Lehner’s sixth of the game and kept the score at even at zeroes. For the remainder of the game, the Senators backup goaltender would remain stellar. He finished the game with 38 stops in the Senators 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.

Jamie Benn battles through three Blue Jackets for blue collar goal

Adam Proteau
Jamie Benn (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Dallas captain Jamie Benn is leading an improved Stars team, but as he showed Tuesday against Columbus, Benn can be a one-man wrecking crew with the puck as well.

The 25-year-old Benn had a three-assist night against the host Blue Jackets, but it was his blue-collar, hard-fought goal that saw him weave his way through three opponents before scoring on Sergei Bobrovsky that had people gasping in awe:


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Blue Jackets win bigger in Ryan Johansen deal

Ken Campbell
Ryan Johansen (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the end, the Ryan Johansen imbroglio ended up rather predictably and much like many of these situations resolve themselves. Each side gives a little and takes a little, with both being able to save face and capable of claiming they made a good deal.

But that middle part, boy, that was a nasty piece of work. The Blue Jackets had the high ground when it came to what they were offering Johansen on a two-year bridge deal, but they certainly did their part to drag this whole process through the mud. The demands Johansen and agent Kurt Overhardt made were pretty outrageous – although Overhardt says they were erroneous – but the fact that this whole thing got as dirty as it did was largely because of the Blue Jackets and their move to personally besmirch the agent. Read more

Can Alexander Wennberg come to the rescue for Columbus?

Alexander Wennberg (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

It has been a trying month for Blue Jackets fans. First and foremost, there is the ongoing contract dispute with emerging star center Ryan Johansen. Then Nathan Horton was discovered to have a degenerative back condition and Boone Jenner broke his hand. So there goes the team’s entire top line. Oh, and defenseman Ryan Murray isn’t taking contact yet as he recovers from knee surgery.

So how about some good news, eh Columbus?

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Bruins beat Flyers in second round – does EA stand for ‘Errors Abound’?

(Image courtesy EA Sports.)

No need to play the 2014-15 season, National Hockey League. Yes, that may cut into the $4 billion in revenues you’re expected to generate, but think of the cost savings for teams that lose money.

Really, why actually play a season when a simulated NHL season has already been played, the Stanley Cup has been awarded and all the awards winners have already been determined? That’s what EA Sports, creators of the NHL 15 video game, have done. And they’ve determined that the Los Angeles Kings will become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and ’98. Read more

Ryan Johansen vs. Torey Krug – a study in contract leverage

Ken Campbell
Ryan Johansen (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The next time you’re inclined to think about NHL players as pampered and overpaid millionaires with no sense of gratitude, shift your thoughts to Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins. The only box he checks off in that description is millionaire.

Krug led all rookie defensemen in goals, assists and points last season. No first-year player, forward or defenseman, had more points on the power play than Krug’s 19. He was named to the NHL’s all-rookie team and became just the fifth defenseman in Bruins history to record double digits in goals in his first NHL season. His 14 goals were one more than Bobby Orr had in his rookie season.

For all that, Krug was rewarded with an almost $400,000 pay cut. And in doing so, he provided a fascinating study of leverage when it comes to negotiating contracts. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Will Steven Stamkos stay put in Tampa Bay?

Steven Stamkos

NBA superstar LeBron James returning home to Cleveland sparked speculation this summer in the Toronto media suggesting Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos could do the same and sign with the Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2016.

The Leafs lack a homegrown star, and Stamkos would be a natural fit. Responding to questions about the possibility, the 24-year-old sniper inadvertently added fuel to the fire by replying, “We’ll see what happens.” However, Stamkos recently clarified his comments, saying he definitely wants to win with the Lightning. Read more