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Blue Jackets: players who want to leave Columbus do so because of management
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

For years, Columbus hasn’t exactly been a dream destination for NHL players.

Let’s just say that for all the Johnny Gaudreau’s who agree to go there, there are plenty of stars who, once free as a bird, want nothing to do with going to Ohio.

Worse: once there, many established players want to leave. Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones and Pierre-Luc Dubois are examples that quickly come to mind.

It’s easy to think it’s because of John Tortorella, who was the coach there for a long time. It’s also easy to think it’s because Columbus isn’t – and never will be – New York or Los Angeles.

But in reality, there’s more to it than that.

This morning on BPM Sports, Renaud Lavoie discussed Frank Seravalli’s comments about why players don’t necessarily want to play in Columbus.

And the TVA Sports journalist wasn’t afraid to name the person Seravalli didn’t want to name: GM Jarmo Kekalainen.

Renaud Lavoie said the GM, who has been in place since 2013, can’t connect with his players. In Columbus, there’s a major disconnect between the players and management.

The result? The guys don’t necessarily want to stay. They don’t understand the existing culture, so they don’t necessarily want to stay.

That’s what happened with Seth Jones, who flatly refused to negotiate a contract extension with Kekalainen in order to stay in Columbus for the long term.

The result? He was traded to the Hawks.

With no sense of belonging, the players are deserting the city. This adds to the club’s difficulties, as it is unable to get its head above water and remains at the bottom of the standings.

Could management be considering a change of GM? After all, the club can’t win… and the decision to hire Mike Babcock showed the DG’s true colors.

In Brief

– To your questions.

– Worrying.

– Connor Bedard: his injury changed everything.

– Martin St-Louis, the right coach right now. [98.5 Sports]

– A quiet Wednesday.

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