Fun with numbers: Blue Jackets playoff prospects and Flames attendance

Brandon Dubinsky  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Getting Brandon Dubinsky back for their game tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers is almost as good news for the Columbus Blue Jackets as it is for teams like the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks that the salary cap is projected to go up to $73 million next season.

The presence of Dubinsky, who hasn’t played a game all season because of surgery to repair four tears in his abdomen and groin, will be an enormous boon to a Columbus Jackets team that is in need of an enormous boon. And we’re not talking about Jenner. At 6-foot-2 and 208, he’s already pretty enormous and thankfully, he’s one of the players who is healthy and productive at the moment for the Blue Jackets with a goal in each of his past three games. Read more

‘Officer’ Bobrovsky back on the beat for the Columbus Blue Jackets

Josh Elliott
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky

It’s been a black-and-blue, injury-filled season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Sergei Bobrovsky has been one of the bright spots recently.

The former Vezina Trophy winner appears to have regained the form that made him the top goalie in 2013, with three dominant wins in his last three starts.

He was certainly on top of his game Saturday in helping the Jackets steal a 3-1 victory in Tampa against the first place Lightning.
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Leaked images show neon All-Star jerseys could be on the horizon

Jared Clinton
ASG Featured

NHL fans haven’t seen an All-Star game since 2012, but when this year’s edition of the scrimmage takes place in Columbus, it might be unlike anything fans have seen before.

According to a few leaks currently making the rounds, the All-Star jerseys will take a step away from the more traditional looks of recent years and go with a full-on neon and silver motif. The jerseys, which you can see below, were shown on the website of sporting goods manufacturer WinCraft: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Edmonton shakeup could be helped by Senators, Blues, or Penguins

Boston Bruins v Edmonton Oilers

Last week there was speculation the Edmonton Oilers were close to shipping winger David Perron to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Artem Anisimov. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reported Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen was talking with other GMs but wasn’t close to making a trade, while Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman followed up claiming Jackets management weren’t keen on parting with Anisimov.

With Anisimov now sidelined two-three months with a torn triceps muscle, the Oilers must look elsewhere for a center. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was spotted chatting with Blues general manager Doug Armstrong during Friday’s Oilers-Blues game. Read more

Injury to Anisimov could have silver lining as Blue Jackets slide into McDavid sweepstakes

Jared Clinton
Artem Anisimov featured

Certainly there is no replacement for winning, but the chance to land a generational talent may be a close second.

That’s exactly where the Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves. And with another injury, this time to center Artem Anisimov, it seems as though they’re going to continue their slide into the bottom of the standings with the only light at the end of the tunnel being a train bearing the name of McDavid, Eichel, or Hanifin. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Several teams may be looking to make moves before holiday freeze

Jordan Eberle (Getty Images)

While anticipation over possible moves by the floundering Edmonton Oilers dominates the NHL rumor mill, others clubs could become active in the trade market between now and the NHL Christmas trade freeze, which commences at midnight on December 19.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would like to add “heaviness” to his roster to bolster his club’s size and strength on the puck. In a recent response to reader e-mail regarding possible trade targets, Haggerty lists Winnipeg’s Evander Kane and Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle as options, though the asking price could be more than the Bruins are willing to pay. Read more

The NHL’s biggest pleasant surprises and letdowns after one-quarter of the season

Boychuk, Okposo and Tavares

With December closing in, the NHL has completed one-quarter of its regular season. (And as my colleague Ken Campbell points out, do not call this the quarter pole.) These points in the campaign always provide an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve seen so far and identify the teams that have stood out for the right and wrong reasons. With that in mind, here are the league’s three biggest pleasant surprises and bitter letdowns to this point:

Biggest pleasant surprises

NEW YORK ISLANDERS. When the Islanders started the season 6-4-0 in the month of October, fans and media were intrigued, if not bowled over; they’d seen the franchise do well in short bursts before, but it never lasted during the reign of GM Garth Snow. But in November, the Isles have been an orange-and-blue steamroller, losing only twice in 12 games since Oct. 30 and beating quality opponents – including Anaheim, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh (in both games of a home-and-home series last week). They’re currently riding a five-game win streak, and although there’s a chance they could fall back, as long as their key players can stay healthy, the Islanders should contend for a top-four seed in the playoffs. A big reason for that is Snow’s off-season acquisitions of Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, who couldn’t have worked out better thus far.

CALGARY FLAMES. Expectations for the Flames were about as low as could be entering the season, but under coach Bob Hartley, this young team has drastically exceeded them thanks to an impressive work ethic and some good fortune in the shooting percentage department. Many continue to expect Calgary will at some point take a step backward, but even if it all falls apart from here, what they’ve shown so far – thanks in large part to brilliant young talents such as rookie Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and the veteran calm of captain Mark Giordano – has earned them a special spot in the hearts of Flames fans. Read more

Rumor Roundup: To make room for young guns, Panthers veterans could be up for grabs

Fleischmann Kopecky featured

NHL teams shopping around for veteran depth should get in touch with Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon. According Sun-Sentinel.com’s Harvey Fialkov, a team source claims the Panthers want to ship out some “unnamed veterans” to make room for youngsters Vincent Trocheck, Rocco Grimaldi and Quinton Howden.

Fialkov believes forwards Tomas Fleischmann, Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim are the likely trade candidates. The trio were part of Tallon’s mass acquisition of veteran talent during the summer of 2011. They become eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. Fleischmann could interest clubs seeking a skilled scorer while Kopecky and Bergenheim could prove worthwhile additions for those seeking checking-line help. Read more