COLUMBUS Drew Doughty Jersey , Ohio (AP) — So what’s going on with “Bob” and “Bread”?
That question dominated the off-season discussion around the Columbus Blue Jackets, overshadowing everything else surrounding a team coming off consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history.
A legitimate inquiry for sure, considering Bob and Bread — otherwise known as goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Artemi Panarin — are major pieces of a team that should be a solid playoff contender again this season.
The two Russians are playing out the final year of their contracts, and Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen’s primary goal this summer was to lock up both superstars with multiyear deals. Neither of the deals got done.
Panarin has said he isn’t sure he wants to commit to Columbus for the long haul. Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets haven’t been able to get together on numbers.
“They’re our best players, no question about it,” veteran forward Cam Atkinson said. “We’re going to treat it as business as usual. I’m not going to look at them any differently, because at the end of the day it’s their decision. There’s only so many times in your career where you’re in the driver’s seat.”
WINDOW IS OPEN
If Panarin and Bobrovsky play to their capabilities, and some other Blue Jackets who battled injuries or otherwise struggled last year can bounce back, the team should be playoff contenders again. Columbus was eliminated in the opening round by the eventual Stanley Cup champions in the past two years.
“I think we’ve crossed the bridge as a team hoping to win,” said coach John Tortorella, who signed a two-year contract extension before camp opened.
“I think we crossed that bridge, I think we know we can win,” he said. “The players’ mindset, I think they know they can win. I think we showed that the past couple years. We’ve stumbled in the playoffs, and that’s what we have to take note of here.”
Panarin set a franchise record with 27 goals and 55 assists (82 points) in 81 games. The second-highest scorer among forwards was rookie center Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Fowler Jersey , who had 20 goals and 28 assists (48 points).
The Blue Jackets grabbed the first wildcard in the rugged Metropolitan Division despite subpar years from usually reliable forwards Atkinson (46 points), Alexander Wennberg (37 points), Boone Jenner (32 points) and Nick Foligno (33 points). Injuries definitely played a part.
THS STATE OF ZACH
Defenseman Zach Werenski is getting healthy again after playing much of last season with a bum shoulder. He started hitting last week and is hoping to be ready to go by the Oct. 4 opener in Detroit.
Werenski suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in the 12th game last season. The rest of the way he wore a cumbersome brace that wrapped around his chest and arm to keep his shoulder from separating. His movement was restricted, which affected his defensive skills, but he still managed to finish with 16 goals.
“It’s awful hard for a defenseman to play all those games that he played and put up the numbers he put up and do some of the things he did with that shoulder the way it was,” Tortorella said. “He’s one that we’re certainly going to watch very closely.”
COMINGS AND GOINGS
The Blue Jackets added some help at center by signing center Riley Nash, the 29-year-old former Boston Bruin who put up career numbers last year. Nash had 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points in 76 games, besting his previous high by 16 points.
The team also signed 22-year-old forward Anthony Duclair, who had 11 goals and 12 assists in 56 games with the Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes last season,
The Blue Jackets bid farewell to longtime players Jack Johnson (Pittsburgh) and Matt Calvert (Colorado), as well as to Ian Cole (Colorado), a defenseman who played valuable minutes down the stretch after being acquired at the trade deadline last season.
SEATTLE (AP) — Cornerback Byron Maxwell was placed on injured reserve and tight end Ed Dickson was placed on the non-football injury list as the Seattle Seahawks reached the 53-man roster limit Saturday.
Maxwell entered training camp as a starter in the secondary, but was rarely on the field during the preseason due to a hip injury. Maxwell returned to Seattle midway through last season and proved he could still be a quality cornerback playing in Seattle’s system after struggling in Philadelphia and Miami in different defensive schemes.
With Maxwell out, Dontae Johnson becomes the presumptive starter at right cornerback, although Seattle will likely be active looking for other options on the waiver wire. Johnson started 16 games last season for San Francisco before coming to Seattle in the offseason.
Seattle will debut a significantly overhauled secondary in the opener at Denver. Shaquill Griffin Authentic Landon Collins Jersey , Justin Coleman and Bradley McDougald are the holdovers, with Johnson likely at one cornerback spot and likely Tedric Thompson at safety with Earl Thomas continuing his holdout. Rookie Tre Flowers is also in the mix for significant playing time.
Dickson never participated in training camp, and had a setback in his recovery from muscle injuries to his quadriceps and groin. He tweeted Friday that he was ready for the season, but as additional insurance the Seahawks acquired tight end Darrell Daniels from Indianapolis in exchange for wide receiver Marcus Johnson.
It was one of two trades Seattle made Saturday, sending a 2019 seventh-round pick to Oakland in exchange for safety Shalom Luani.
One piece of good news for Seattle was defensive end Dion Jordan being activated from the physically unable to perform list. Jordan had been sidelined during training camp because of a knee and shin injury, but coach Pete Carroll said last week that Jordan was on the cusp of returning. Jordan’s addition would be a boost to a pass rush that is one of Seattle’s biggest concerns going into the regular season.
Among the more notable cuts for Seattle was veteran safety Maurice Alexander and wide receiver Amara Darboh, a 2017 third-round pick.
Alexander was a surprise cut especially after he spent a big chunk of the preseason finale against Oakland showing his versatility by playing weakside linebacker. Alexander was thought to be a potential veteran option at safety and could possibly fill in at linebacker if rookie Shaquem Griffin struggled. Griffin is in line to start the opener with K.J. Wright recovering from minor knee surgery.
Darboh never flashed as the Seahawks had hoped and was beat out for the fifth wide receiver spot by David Moore, another draft pick from 2017. Moore had been a standout during the preseason both as a wide receiver and on special teams. Darboh was also impacted by Seattle’s decision to carry five running backs, although J.D. McKissic is currently out with a foot injury.
Seattle also released linebacker D.J. Alexander, a special teams standout a season ago, 2017 draft pick Mike Tyson and rookie quarterback Alex McGough. McGough showed enough in preseason to be a developmental option on the practice squad after being taken in the seventh-round this year.
Along with Maxwell, offensive lineman Jamarco Jones, quarterback Austin Davis and linebacker Erik Walden were placed on injured reserve.
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