Is MacLean Back?

The Jackets won last night, 3-2 in the shoot-out, their current method of showing competitiveness.  Oh, by the way, Nikita Filatov may be leaving the team.

Filatov Returning to Russia?

Rookie forward Nikita Filatov, who has struggled to remain in coach Ken Hitchcock’s lineup, might be headed back to Russia, perhaps as soon as this week, according to sources within and beyond the NHL.

Jackets general manager Scott Howson would not comment on a potential agreement allowing the 19-year-old Filatov to return to his former club team, CSKA Moscow. Nothing has been finalized, however, and Filatov and the Blue Jackets are expected to talk again today about the possibility of staying in Columbus.

Man, this brings back the good old days, doesn’t it?  We have a team that wins, although not convincingly, and we get a soap opera as an added bonus.  It almost looks as if Doug MacLean is back in charge.  Make a controversial move when the whole town is thinking about how bad OSU is going to pound Michigan this Saturday.  We have a GM who drafted a player that the coach doesn’t want.  We already did this with Nick Zherdev.  But in the case of Zherdev, there were a lot of other issues that we were kept in the dark about that came to light when he went to New York.

I won’t pretend to know what is going on here between Filatov and Hitchcock.  It is known that Coach Hitchcock prefers veteran players who will do what he wants, which is to play defense first, second, and last.  Ask Brett Hull.  And the Derrick Dorsett’s are fine, but they are not going to get you a lot of wins.  But why waste Filatov?  Do you think he will bother to return any calls from Columbus if he goes to the KHL?

Maybe this is some misguided way to help with the financial bind that the organization is in.  Ship an expensive player overseas who is not playing in the NHL to save money.  Perhaps it also shows the limits of the current coaching system of the Jackets.  For all the progress that the Jackets have made under the current coaching and management, they are showing signs that they have not improved much since last season.  I still think that they will make the playoffs, but more than two home games in the playoffs does not look possible at this time.

So spin this one as hard as you can, Blue Jackets.  A number one pick, a guy who everybody inside the hockey world likes, might leave town without any return on investment.

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