The columbus Blue Jackets introduced the teams new president this afternoon. former announcer and St. Louis Blues executive John Davidson will become the clubs president of hockey operations, replacing Mike Priest, who will concentrate on the business side of the franchise.
Davidson, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, served as president of the St. Louise Blues from 2006 until earlier this year. He helped transform that team into one of the best in the league last season. He says the Jackets have some valuable assets, but that key questions remain.
Davidson: This is a very committed ownership group here. With a great facility. The building here in Columbus.. along with the practice facility that's married to the building... the locker room facilities, the way they travel, the whole thing -- it's got to be the top 5 in the NHL. It's a great facility, it's a very underrated city.... That being said, we have to look at the club itself. It didn't achieve 60 points last season. Was that under-achieving? Was that where they should be? We're going to find that out. I think it's a better club than what it showed.
The Blue Jackets had the worst record in the NHL last season. Whether or not there will be a hockey season for Davidson to skipper remains in doubt, as contract talks between the league and player remain stalled. The Players Association notified the league that it's ready to return to the bargaining table in an effort to save a full schedule. But NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly quickly told the union to forget it. Daly told the Associated Press he did not anticipate any negotiations taking place for the balance of the week, saying the union had rejected the proposal management made last week and is not offering another one. The league set an October 25th deadline for the two sides to work out a new collective bargaining agreement before the NHL cancels regular season games for good. The sides haven't met since the NHL turned down three counter-proposals from the union last week.