Newly-acquired Blue Jackets center Jeff Carter's conference call with local media may have lasted minutes, but it's hard to ignore his use of the word "excited" over a dozen times.
After a weekend to gather his thoughts and grow accustomed to life with only his second National Hockey League club, general manager Scott Howson's prime acquisition is geared up to get to Columbus and put wins on the board.
The club, represented by Howson, head coach Scott Arniel and team captain Rick Nash, paid a special visit to Carter at his Sea Isle City, N.J. home recently to introduce him to the organization, an experience that Carter appreciated and learned a lot from.
"(The visit) shows a lot on their part -- obviously they are real excited to have me," Carter said.
"We just talked for a while about the team and their direction, what their sights are on for the future, my role on the team and all that kind of stuff. After talking with them it definitely got me real excited and I wish the season was starting a little earlier."
Upon learning of his trade from the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, a day before the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn., Carter said the first player to reach out to him was Nash. He and his potential line mate traded text messages, and he also heard from center Antoine Vermette and his former Flyer teammate, alternate captain R.J. Umberger.
|Jeff Carter was an All-Star in 2009. |
And for Carter, a high-scoring center who has played with high-end players over his NHL career, one of the most exciting things about being a part of the Blue Jackets is lining up beside a perennial All-Star like Nash.
"Anytime you get a chance to play with a guy like Rick, it definitely puts a smile on your face," Carter said. "I'm excited to get out there and see what we can do together.
"Rick's had a lot of people keying on him the last eight years that he's been there, so it's not easy doing a lot by yourself. Hopefully I can take some of the weight off his shoulders and try to help him out and help this team out."
Many people, including Arniel, envision Nash and Carter forming an imposing duo on the Blue Jackets’ top line. Following the trade’s official announcement, Howson noted that having a skilled right-handed shooter will help balance the lineup and add some jump to the power play.
On a personal level, much has been written about Carter's decision to withhold comment on his trade to Columbus until early this week. Carter admitted that the trade from the Flyers was a shock at first, but after being with one organization for the first six years of his career, that was to be expected.
"I think sometimes when you are caught off guard, you feel a little bit of anger and betrayal, and all the emotions that go with being traded," Carter said.
"Scott (Howson) and the organization have been real welcoming. They understand the situation and they were fine with me waiting a few days to come out and talk and I really appreciate that from them."
The meeting at Carter's home was a get-to-know each other as well as a miniature crash course in Blue Jackets history. Howson and Arniel gave Carter a first-hand look at their offseason plans, and an overview of expectations headed into the 2011-12 season.
And, as the hockey world has seen in the past five days, it's shaping up to be a productive and exciting summer for the Blue Jackets. Right now, no one is as excited as the man who will wear No. 7 in union blue this fall.
"There's a few holes (the Blue Jackets) need to work on, but you look at the lineup and they got a lot of young players that are going to be real good players in this league," Carter said. "It's a work in progress, but hopefully I can be a big part of that."