The cancellation of All-Star weekend hurt no franchise more than Columbus, the host city that was in need of some positive public exposure. Since finishing last season with the league's worst record and the team's 10th non-playoff campaign in its 11-year history, the Blue Jackets have been busy trying to fix, well, just about everything. Some examples:
The first order of business was to hire a full-time coach, and Todd Richards, who kept the team competitive after Scott Arniel was fired midway through last season, was a solid choice with two winning seasons coaching the Wild under his belt. Richards also appointed veteran NHL coach Craig Hartsburg his top associate. The biggest change came at the top, with John Davidson named president of hockey operations. The popular former goaltender and broadcaster spent the previous six seasons in the same position with the Blues.
It was necessary to move on from the Rick Nash era, and getting a pair of young centers, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, plus promising defenseman Tim Erixon from the Rangers was a nice return. They kept team plus-minus leader Derek McKenzie and NHL PIM leader Derek Dorsett with multiyear deals, traded for young forward Nick Foligno (Ottawa), and shored up their shoddy net play by acquiring Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney. With the No. 2 pick in the draft, Columbus selected defenseman Ryan Murray, who is keeping busy in the WHL during the lockout.