It’s an agonizing decision for a lot of prospects: head to college and be the big man on campus, or sign with an NHL team and play a longer schedule in major junior. Last year, it was Montreal first-rounder Michael McCarron in the spotlight. He chose the Ontario League’s London Knights over Western Michigan. This time, it’s Columbus first-rounder Sonny Milano, who will join the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers after he informed Boston College he would not be attending the school this fall.
As detailed by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Milano struggled with the decision and that’s not surprising.
These truly are the dog days of summer. Players, GMs and coaches get their brief time off between the free agency boom and training camps. Media have time to do fun stuff like rank every logo in the NHL. With no hockey, we spend our nights watching
Bachelor in Paradise baseball.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening in the NHL. If you squint, you’ll notice several important questions still unanswered, such as…
1. Will Columbus mend fences with Ryan Johansen and sign him long-term?
The most recent reports out of Columbus had restricted free agent Johansen and the Jackets still $3 million apart. Per season. That’s a Grand Canyonesque gap. So far, the P.K. Subban story isn’t working as a cautionary tale about short-term bridge contracts. After his bridge, Subban won the Norris Trophy and his new long-term cap hit is probably about $2 million more than it would’ve been had Montreal ponied up two years ago and paid him, say, Drew Doughty money.
The Jackets want Johansen to prove his 33-goal breakout was for real, just as they wanted Sergei Bobrovsky to back up his Vezina Trophy campaign when they inked him to a bridge deal last summer. The difference? Nothing about Johansen’s development says fluke. He has pedigree as the No. 4 overall pick in 2010. He was always supposed to be this good. There’s every reason to trust him. Columbus could live to regret a bridge contract. The East is wide open, and this team can contend with its top pivot signed and happy.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a 21st Century NHL team – entering the league in 2000-01 – so they don’t have a long track record of redesigns or touch-ups. But the Blue Jackets are all about history. The team name is a nod to American history and the region’s role in the Civil War, which made Ken Hitchcock a perfect fit for the franchise.
So don’t let Stinger the hornet mascot confuse you. This team is named for the Blue Coats, not the buzzing Blue Jackets.
But did you know the Columbus NHL franchise was almost called the Justice? When majority owner John H. McConnell’s team was figuring out a name for the expansion franchise, the two finalists were the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Columbus Justice. That name would have been way worse and, we imagine, the logo would have been awful, too.
A Justice logo would surely have ranked lower in our rankings than the current Blue Jackets logo does at No. 20. There were some mixed opinions in the THN office about this look. Some like the color combination and the slick design that ties it together, while others saw a very basic and bland design fit for No. 30. Do you think you can design a better look for the Jackets?
(Aside: I would rank Columbus very high if they would use the blue cannon as their primary logo.)
Try your hand at coming up with a new design for the Columbus Blue Jackets logo and submit your entry to email@example.com. At the end of our rankings, we’ll share all our favorites redesigns of the 30 NHL logos. And if you had fun creating one for Columbus, you can send us more art work for the other NHL teams, too.
HISTORY OF THE BLUE JACKETS LOGO
If I had to rank the two primary logos Columbus has used in its decade-and-a-half of existence, this one would rank miles behind the current look. This one is too “Saturday morning cartoons” for me and includes a touch of neon the NHL was pushing for. Yuck. Here’s what the Blue Jackets’ website says about the first logo ever used by the franchise:
“The primary Blue Jackets logo that was selected features a star-studded red ribbon unfurled in the shape of the team’s initials, CBJ, with an electric green hockey stick cutting through the center to represent the “J.” The 13 stars represent each of the original 13 U.S. Colonies and signify patriotism. The star on top of the stick signifies Columbus as the state capital.”
It’s the 12th annual off-season look at each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically, but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. This week, we look at Steve Mason’s current and former teams.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Gone – Nick Schultz, Jack Skille, Derek MacKenzie, Matt Frattin, Blake Comeau, Nikita Nikitin, R.J. Umberger
Incoming – Brian Gibbons, Jerry D’Amigo, Scott Hartnell, Simon Hjalmarsson
Ready for full-time – Hjalmarsson is a Blues draft pick (39th overall in 2007) who not only remained in Europe but also took only sideways or backwards steps in his development. That is, until St. Louis let him go. Then he started to flourish. Hjalmarsson finished this past season with 57 points in 55 games, good for fourth in Swedish League scoring. Still only 25, he’s both NHL-ready and has room to improve. I liken his situation to that of Carl Soderberg in Boston from a year ago, though Hjalmarsson may not have quite the upside offensively. Read more
News and views from the meager scraps left by the hockey world in a very slow middle of July:
News: Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson says the organization is trying to figure out, “the right thing to do,” when it comes to restricted free agent Ryan Johansen.
Views: After scoring 33 goals in the regular season and being a force for the Blue Jackets in the playoffs, Johansen has earned the right to demand a long-term contract for as much money as he wants. But the fact remains that he would have earned that right even if he had been half as good as he was last season. It’s free agency and any player can ask for whatever he thinks he’s worth. Read more
I’ve been watching the Tour de France nightly the past couple of weeks and am taken by one of the awards they give out after each stage. It’s the Combativity Award and it goes to the cyclist that day who shows the most fighting spirit.
This isn’t about tossing an elbow out when a competitor tries to zoom by or sticking a leadpipe in the spokes of an unsuspecting rival. The combative award goes to the individual who attacks on the road. That is to say, the cyclist who makes the most attempts to break away from the peloton or chase down leading groups. It’s also called the most aggressive rider prize, or as TDF analyst Paul Sherwen calls it, the rider who most often “throws the cat among the pigeons.”
The winner each stage gets called to the podium, is handed a bouquet of flowers and a stuffed animal, gets kisses from a pair of pretty ladies, then shakes the hands of dignitaries. During the next day’s stage, he wears a special red-backgrounded race number that denotes his distinction.
So why is they don’t have a most combative award in the NHL? They have awards for being skilled in a multitude of ways, for being gentlemanly, for being defensive, for being dedicated, for being a humanitarian, a leader. But nothing for showing the most fighting spirit. And that’s really too bad.
We recently sorted out our Yearbook predictions for 2014-15, which included projected standings and which team will win the Stanley Cup. Without giving it away, our anticipated winner has been to the promised land before. Which mathematically, should not be surprising. Only 12 of the NHL’s 30 teams have never won the league title and it’s hard to say who will be next. When the Los Angeles Kings won their first Cup in 2012, they broke a streak of futility that had stretched back to 1968 when the team originally entered the league. The following teams would like to join them:
If you care to watch the NHL All-Star Game – and if you do, you probably have kids – you’ll know the league hasn’t used black vs. white jerseys in a long time. They’ve gone with red, white and blue combinations, they’ve tried green and purple. But neon green? That one would be new.
Lo and behold, that may be the direction the NHL goes in its 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus.
A Reebok catalog that became accessible online shows all kinds of apparel from all 30 NHL teams. Then, on Page 94, it starts into all-star paraphernalia. And that’s when we start seeing an awful lot of hints that black and bright, bright green will be a big part of the event.
First clue: take note of the picture above. The Columbus All-Star Game logo features the team’s colors, but above that we see a “00″ that looks like numbers on the back of a jersey. The numbers are black, with a neon green outline.
Second clue: this logo that appears on Page 107 of the catalog.