Columbus Blue Jackets: pros and cons of bringing Nick Foligno back

At the end of the 20014-15 HL season Nick Foligno was named captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Foligno would remain as captain until he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first round draft pick this past NHL regular season. A fixture both on the ice and in the community in Columbus made Nick Foligno a popular figure. As his contract will expire when the Stanley Cup Champion is crowned there has been some chatter the former captain could sign with the Blue Jackets.

VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 8: Nick Foligno #71 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates up ice during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 8, 2020 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)”n

Recently Columbus Blue Jackets, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen and President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson both said that todays NHL is a “young mans league.” So the question is would the Blue Jackets really choose to bring back a 33 year old  Foligno?

There have been players who have served as captain longer than Foligno did for the Blue Jackets. One thing to remember is that being captain of a team is hard work. Players need to constantly reinvent there approach to leadership. In other words they can not allow their voice to become stale.

At 32 years old Cam Atkinson can be a veteran leader as can 31 year old Gustav Nyquist. Being a young mans league two players 30ish years old is probably the max a team should carry in order to allow younger players the ice time they need.

Nick Foligno and his family have said they love Columbus, Ohio. He also said after he was traded to Toronto he would strongly consider signing with the Blue Jackets after the season.

WINNIPEG, MB – APRIL 22: Nick Foligno #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs keeps an eye on the play during second period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on April 22, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

It is my opinion for a franchise on the cusp of a rebuild, that a new voice and new leader is needed. Nick Foligno will always have a special place in the hearts of Blue Jackets fans. He will surely be cheered whenever he comes back in town with the team he plays for.

Again it is my opinion that a new captain is needed as a new dawn of Columbus Blue Jackets hockey is set to embark.

Father’s Day 2021

I can not believe it is here again. Father’s Day, the day to celebrate dad (or the father figure in your life.) This year is a bit more “normal” than last year. This year not only do I get to see my dad, but I get hangout time as well. That is something I will never take for granted again as the global pandemic continues to be further and further behind us I am grateful to see my dad for an extended time.

I took many of the lessons my dad taught me or showed me from leading by example to navigate through the pandemic. Keeping a level head, continue to follow the leadership both local and national and the recommendations they gave.

I was blessed to stay healthy and working the entire time. I also had a job change due to health issues. I believe that is due to both listening and obeying God, my dad as well as government officials.

I took all the steps necessary that would lead to being able to be reunited with my dad on Father’s Day including getting vaccinated. A day I quite frankly had taken for granted for decades. It is so true, you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.

I hosted a Memorial Day cookout and my mom and dad came to my house. It was a great day! But, if you are like me that was a much too short day. Not to mention I had other family members come over so my attention was not solely focused on one person.

The reason I am so excited to be able to hangout with my dad, is we are both older. I have no idea how long either of us have left on this earth. God holds the days, I just live them with gratitude.

This year giving my dad a Father’s Day gift will mean a little more, but it is only a small token of the love and deep appreciation I have for my dad.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis

To die hard Star Wars fans they know exactly who Darth Plagueis is a Sith Lord who craved immortality. To the casual Star Wars fan they may not have the needed information on this rather pivotal character. Yet the casual fan remembers this iconic scene from Star Wars:  Revenge of the Sith………..

Plagueis, believed the secret to everlasting life laid in science. So he worked hand and hand with his apprentice, Sheev Palpatine. The two worked endlessly to be able to  manipulate midichlorians to create life.

Palpatine was hand picked by Plagueis as a human from Naboo. He felt Palpatine would be an excellent apprentice. It was under the teaching of Plagueis that Darth Sidious was born anew as a Sith.

It was during the time working together that Palpatine learned the rule of two. So that is something happened to the master there was a backup ready to step into the leader role.

What should be noted about the Sith is they crave power. Not just power but to be sole ruler and not share with anyone else. It could be possible the Palpatine knew Plagueis would come for him on Naboo and began to plan to overthrow the legendary Sith Lord early on.

Plagueis did learn the trick to life that does not end as we find in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine took the teaching and survived his own death in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Darth Plagueis’s impact on the Star Wars universe can not be under or over stated. It started a long time ago and continues to this day in the universe. My hope is that Disney/Lucasfilm gives Plagueis his due and offers a film or streaming show.

He is such a captivating figure and has a deep reaching impact on all of Star Wars.

With a top line center, Columbus Blue Jackets LW, Patrik Laine should rebound in a big way

It was an uncharacteristically underachieving season for Columbus Blue Jackets Left Wing (LW) Patrik Laine. Laine who’s production has never been an issue until he was traded to the Blue Jackets found himself in a rut that he simply could not get out of. Be it the trade, the pandemic, new teammates or whatever was the root cause, Laine himself said he has to be better and vowed to be better next season.

COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 7: Patrick Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets controls the puck during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena on February 7, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Sure the Columbus Blue Jackets were rumored to be trading Patrik Laine. I do not believe that is the case now. I say that because Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, and new head coach Brad Larsen have both said recently they want to put better talent around him. That does not sound like there is an intention to trade.

Not to mention why would the Columbus Blue Jackets trade the young Finnish LW? Since coming into the NHL in 2016 Laine’s goals are 36, 44, 30, 20, 12. I understand it is the 12 (between Winnipeg and Columbus) that jumps off the screen. Stop it! Patrik Laine is a pure goal scorer. A sniper in the truest since of the word.

One reason I am able to envision a turnaround for Laine is the Columbus Blue Jackets need, no make that really need a top line center. By all accounts Kekalainen has made that one of the biggest goals this offseason.

That name more than any other that has been attached to the Blue Jackets is disgruntled Buffalo Sabers center Sam Reinhart. Reinhart would be a great fit for the Blue Jackets as top center. Reinhart scores 20+ goals with regularity and his playmaking ability would push the Blue Jackets top line into a very solid group.

A top line of Laine-Reinhart- Bjokstarnd would give the Blue Jackets serious firepower (pun and no pun intended) from the top line. Oliver Bjorkstand is just scratching the surface of what he is capable of, scoring a career high 18 goals last season, yet the right wing (RW) can give even more.

COLUMBUS, OH – MARCH 11: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Florida Panthers at Nationwide Arena on March 11, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

To recap, the Columbus Blue Jackets need Patrik Laine. He is simply to good to simply trade away. With the right center his numbers will return. Does Columbus want him to do it with another team? I do not think so.

 

Star Wars Father’s Day gift ideas

It’s coming this Sunday. Father’s Day, if your like me the celebratory day for dad’s sneaks up on you. Perhaps it is because Father’s Day comes on the heals of Memorial Day. Perhaps it is because life is busy and I and others simply lose track. Whatever the reason, there is no need to stress or freak out. If your dad is a Star Wars fan you really have time.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 21: A guest wears a white t-shirt with a picture of Star Wars print, , outside Berluti, during Paris Fashion Week – Menswear Spring/Summer 2020, on June 21, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

While T-Shirts have replaced the tie as “THE” Father’s Day gift, there are other options for dad’s. I means sure a shirt is nice. How about instead of just a T-Shirt thrown in a gift bag try maybe getting a Star Wars coffee mug and rolling the shirt up and putting it in the mug is a better presentation of your love for your dad or father figure.

What to do if dear old dad does not like coffee and has so many T-Shirt’s his dresser drawer barely closes. Maybe pick up a nice Star Wars print. This would look good in dad’s office or his mancave. If mom allows maybe even a small spot somewhere in the house. He may need to use a Jedi mind trick for that to happen.

What may make dad feel special is have a Star Wars bobblehead head made with his likeness. What you say? Is that possible? It is and it’s a pretty cool idea. While it is a little pricy, maybe a brother or sister or both can help chip in. Or take it to mom and hope the Force is with you.

Darth Vader poses for photographers at the end of the screening of US director George Lucas’ film “Star Wars : Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”, 15 May 2005 at the 58th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival. The seminal sci-fi saga “Star Wars” comes to a rousing close 15 May when the final episode in the six-part series gets its international premiere at the Cannes film festival. The Cannes film festival, the world’s top showcase of cinema, started 11 May with a slew of veteran auteurs lining up for the prestigious Palme d’Or prize, and Hollywood muscling in to promote this year’s blockbusters.
AFP PHOTO PASCAL GUYOT (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP) (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images)

If your like me then art is the way to go. Star Wars offer many different art of books. These books bring Star Wars to life in a different way. The books also offer insight to the thinking of design concepts and show the evolution of going from the drawing board to the big screen.

There are many other Star Wars gift ideas I did not even approach. So relax, you’ve got this. Get dad something he likes and show him some love.

What kind of prospect do the Columbus Blue Jackets have in Samuel Knazko

This past Wednesday the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they had signed 2020 third round draft pick Samuel Knazko to a three year entry level contract (ELC.) The 18 year old defenseman is from Slovakia and promises to bolster the Blue Jackets blueline soon. What kind of player is Samuel Knazko? A closer look shows he can be an impact player.

EDMONTON, AB – JANUARY 02: Brett Berard #21 of the United States skates against Samuel Knazko #20 of Slovakia during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship quarterfinals at Rogers Place on January 2, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

There is a lot to like in  Samuel Knazko game. Knazko’s skating is very good, he has great hands and a very good shot that makes him a natural for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The young defenseman has excellent eyes and his passes are on point. Knazko is not afraid to make back-handed passes which sets him apart from most defensive players.

Samuel Knazko was the captain of the Slovakian team at this years World Juniors Turney. While a short and I do mean short start to his U.S. hockey career is likely to start in Cleveland with the Monsters. Columbus Blue Jackets fans can expect to see Knazko in Columbus very soon.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JUNE 23: Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen meets with the media following the NHL General managers Meetings at the Bellagio Las Vegas on June 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets under general manager Jarmo Kekalainen’s time with the organization has drafted defensive players that can move the puck up ice with some offensive ability as well as be able to quarterback the power play. Samuel Knazko fits that bill.

With the Blue Jackets rumored to be trading Seth Jones, Knazko becomes an important figure the future of the defensive unit. He has the ability to be a top 6 player for Columbus.

In review, young Samuel Knazko is a defensive player with a lot of up-side. He should fit seamlessly in the Blue Jackets blueline once the team feels he is ready for NHL competition. Again, that should be sooner than later. Columbus Blue Jackets fans will like the young Knazko’s all around game.

The Book of Boba Fett will incorporate flashback scenes

Veteran Star Wars actor Temuera Morrison who in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy portrayed Bounty Hunter (and clone templet) Jango Fett and now stars on The Mandalorian as fan favorite Boba Fett. The character is returning this December in the hotly anticipated Book of Boba Fett on Disney +. Morrison gave a hint at what the show will feature.

BERLIN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 15: Actor Temuera Morrison is photographed for Self Assignment on February 15, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Nicolas Guerin/Contour by Getty Images)

As with anything Star Wars actors and actresses are not allowed to give out much details if any at all. That is unless given permission by the right people. The Book of Boba Fett has fans waiting anxiously.

When Temuera Morrison let the cat out of the bag that the show will feature flashbacks all the way back to The Empire Strikes Back and will lead up to where fans first saw him in Season 2 of The Mandalorian.

While that was a nice wet the appetite boarding juicy detail, it still leaves a lot of questions. The main questions Star Wars fans have is will a flashback show the legendary Bounty Hunter fly out of the Sarlaac Pit in which he fell into in Return of the Jedi.

What fans need to remember about Boba Fett, is that he fell out of love with the Empire after they left him for dead which has been hinted at on The Mandalorian. Much like Darth Maul who fell out of love with the Sith, so much so he ditched the Darth and went by just Maul.

It will be interesting to see what details are in the flashback scenes and just how far they go back. Not to mention how they link together with the present when we first see Fett.

MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 15: A Boba Fett figure is exhibited at the ‘Star Wars Exhibition’ at Telefonica flagship store on December 15, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Eduardo Parra/Getty Images)

Boba Fett goes on to run a successful Bounty Hunter syndicate which I believe is what was set up when Fett sat on the thrown of Jabba the Hutt. Let’s hope that is how the show goes because then it opens the door for Star Wars characters like Asajj Ventress.

The Columbus Blue Jackets hire Brad Larsen as head coach

Thursday long time Columbus Blue Jacket assistant coach Brad Larsen was named head coach. Blue Jackets fans greeted the news with a mixture of mostly negativity with a bit of optimism. So what does this mean for the organization moving forward? That is a big question right now.

COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 18: Brad Larsen of the Columbus Blue Jackets poses for his official headshot for the 2014-2015 season on September 18, 2014 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

One factor that could have been in play for the Columbus Blue Jackets hiring, is that Brad Larsen knows the organization. He also knows the current roster. So that has some consistency and does not rock the boat to much as far as bringing in a coach from outside the organization.

Brad Larsen has been in Columbus for 11 years. During his time as an assistant coach the Blue Jackets record is 269-208 with 59 ties. So Larsen has been part of the winning in Columbus.

After the season concluded, and is was announced that former Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella would not be returning, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen met with players and asked what they would like in the next head coach. The players were united and said they wanted a “players coach.”

Larsen fits that bill. The term “players coach” does not mean pushover, not at all. It means a coach who is willing to listen to players and give them a chance to prove what they ask for, while being able to scrap that and change to what the head coach wants to do as the situation dictates.

While it is true the Blue Jackets power play struggled mightily under what many fans believe to be Larsen’s watch a deeper look tells a slightly different story. John Tortorella coached teams have a history of weak power plays.

DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 26: Assistant coach Brad Larsen of the Columbus Blue Jackets watches the action from the bench against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on November 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Blue Jackets defeated the Wings 7-5. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

While Brad Larsen may not have been the sexy name as far as head coaching candidates. Jarmo Kekalainen is banking on it being the right one for his hockey team. Time will tell. But for now Blue Jackets fans should back away from the ledge and see how this plays out.

What could a Columbus Blue Jackets rebuild look like?

As the days have pressed on since Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones announced he would not re-sign with the team, many fans and media outlets have wondered and pondered if the Blue Jackets were about to embark on a full-blown rebuild. If they do, what would that look like? I offer some thoughts, mind you this is before any trades are made, if any at all.

By many accounts the Columbus Blue Jackets were going to entice Seth Jones to sign a long-term contract by offer him a max deal. 8 years at $9-$9.5 million per-season as well as offer him the teams captaincy. In my opinion the Blue Jackets should now offer that same deal to defensemen Zach Werenski.

Werenski was the captain of the Michigan Wolverines hockey team and by all indications the 24 year old has the respect in the Blue Jackets locker room needed to be named captain. If the Blue Jackets do make the offer and lock up Werenski they would be doing so before he enters his prime years. This would be key.

COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 2: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates during the second period of a game against the Dallas Stars on February 2, 2021 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

At just 23 years old and despite coming off his worst pro season the Columbus Blue Jackets should also offer a massive deal to Patrik Laine. A player of Laine’s prowess does not come along everyday. Not to mention Laine like Werenski is not in the prime of his career yet.

Next players that are on the current roster suggest this could be a shorter rebuild. Max Domi, Gustav Nyquist, Eric Robinson, Jack Roslovic, Vladislav Gavrikov and a couple others give hope that shorter rebuild is on the horizon.

Armed with 3 first round draft picks (the first pick is #5 overall) gives the Blue Jackets something to work with. They could use all three first round picks or trade one or two to upgrade the roster to ice a competitive team next season.

CALGARY, AB – MARCH 04: Vladislav Gavrikov #44 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 4, 2020 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen is said to be bent on fixing the teams center position which is in desperate need of an upgrade. There is little doubt that the GM will indeed fix the position.

While the Blue Jackets have a lot of salary cap space, they need to be wise how they use it. One thing I believe the organization should do is build around defensemen Zach Werenski and the offensive skills of Patrik Laine. This would be the smart thing to do.

Which Stromtroopers are the best in the Star Wars universe

The Star Wars Stormtroopers got their start as a Clone that came from Bounty Hunter Jango Fett’s DNA under the order of  Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. One can only assume that through time and the fact that clones become watered down versions of earlier clones, that is why the classic Stormtroopers struggled with shooting accuracy. Star Wars boasts of some pretty cool Stormtroopers. But which is the best? Let’s dive in.

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – OCTOBER 12: A Death Trooper cosplay enthusiast is showing his weapon during SOFA 2018 (Salon de Ocio y Fantasia) on October 12, 2018 in Bogota, Colombia. SOFA is one of the largest cosplay festivals in Latin America. (Photo by Juan Torres Padilla/Getty Images)

The Deathtrooper, this all black Trooper first appeared in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” who got their orders from Director Krennic, the intimidating looking Deathtrooper also was seen on “The Mandalorian.” Much taller than the regular Trooper and much more deadly. A fan favorite of Star Wars fans for good reason.

The Scout Troopers, the  leaner, sleeker Trooper has to be lean because the zip around on  Speeder Bikes chancing down their targets. First seen in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” This Trooper also made a comeback on “The Mandalorian.”

405265 14: Storm Troopers arrive for the screening of “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” May 12, 2002 in New York City. The Children’s Aid Society benefit screening took place at the Tribeca Film Festival on the festival’s last day. The film opens May 16, 2002 nationwide. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

Stormtroopers, while I did mention the poor shooting,  hold a special place in hearts and minds of Star Wars fans Because they are the  first one seen on screen. Blasting their way onto the Tantive IV paving the way for Darth Vader in “Star Wars: A New Hope,” They oozed of cool.

The “Empire Strikes Back” gave us the technically advanced Snowtrooper. Able to work in extreme cold conditions the Snowtrooper is the most distinctive looking trooper.

Those are the Stormtroopers I think are the best of Star Wars. Drop a comment as to which Stormtrooper or Stormtrooper’s you believe are the best. I’d love to hear about it.