With the NHL and NHL Players Association still failing to come to an agreement, and not only the entire pre-season but also the first two weeks of the NHL Regular season canceled, what are Blue Jackets’ players doing while hockey’s biggest stage sits idle?
One of the most anticipated additions to the Blue Jackets over the summer was Brandon Dubinsky as part of the much talked about Rick Nash trade. Now with the NHL season becoming more of a dream than a reality, what is the former New York Rangers doing? For the time being the Anchorage Alaska native signed a Tryout Agreement with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL and is participating in the team’s training camp near home with other NHL players Scott Gomez, Nate Thompson and Joey Crabb.
— Brandon Dubinsky (@BDubi17) September 18, 2012
Another piece of the Nash deal, Artem Anisimov is currently playing in the KHL with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. In six games so far this season Anisimov has recorded 4 assists. The left handed center and native of Russia played 49 games with Yaroslavl from 2005 to 2007 and registered 10 points before coming to North America to join the Rangers organization in 2007-2008. Joining Anisimov on the team’s roster is long time NHL veteran Niklas Hagman who spent last season with the Anaheim Ducks, along with former Blue Jacket Sami Lepisto .
The Jackets’ newest puck stopper Sergei Bobrovsky is also finding a lock out home in the KHL. In two games so far this season with St. Petersburg, Bobrovsky is 1-0-1 with a 1.92 goals against average and a .927 saves percentage. Like Anisimov, Bobrovsky is a native of Russia and has previous experience in his home country as he made 76 appearances for Novokuznetsk Metallurg before joining the Philadelphia Flyers at the start of the 2010-2011 season.
The KHL is also where 26 year old Jackets’ blue-liner Nikita Nikitin is playing while waiting on the lock out to end. Nikitin, who spent 265 games from 2003 to 2010 with Omsk Avangard returns to the team this season. Through three games, Nikitin has yet to register a point with the team. The St. Louis Blues fifth round pick in 2004 became a solid fixture on the Jackets’ blue line last season registering 32 points in 54 games after coming over to Columbus from the Blues.
Some Blue Jackets such as Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson, and John Moore are calling Springfield, Indiana home during the NHL lock out. The Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons will be in action this season with several players who might have had a shot at making the big club. Johansen, 20, played 67 games for the Jackets last season and registered 21 points as a rookie. Cam Atkinson spent the majority of last season with Springfield while also registering seven goals and 14 points in 27 games with the big club. Moore registered a pair of assists in 5 games with Springfield and seven points in 67 games with the Jackets last season.
Recently their have been talks of center Derick Brassard and defenseman Fedor Tyutin looking at options to play in Europe during the lock-out as well. Many things are still unclear regarding the lock out but one thing is clear, players around the league, including Blue Jackets, are finding work elsewhere while we wait and hope for a resolution.