This week's mailbag was full of questions about the players off the ice, from that of Jody Shelley’s dog to players befriending the opposition off the ice.
I read in an article recently that Jody Shelley has a dog. What kind of dog is it? What is its name?
---Chelsea D., Green, Ohio
Jody Shelley has a chocolate lab and "her name is Elley Shelley, I got it two years ago in December. She is a smart dog and I got her into duck hunting and she loves that. She chases rabbits around, she listens very well. She is the greatest dog ever."
This question is for Manny Malhotra and Jason Chimera. What was it like playing against Trevor Letowski in the recent preseason game?
---Michele C., Pickerington, Ohio
According to Manny Malhotra, “It was fun. It is preseason and you take it seriously and you want to win the bragging rights, but once we got into the game, we were playing hard against each other. After the game, it was good to see him and I wished him luck and he did the same to us.”
I have a question for the goaltenders. It appears that you have a special routine when you come to the net to get ready for each period, do you? Does that ever change? What do you do between periods to keep focused on the task at hand?
---Scott B., Bexley, Ohio
Fredrik Norrena tries to stay in the same routine for every game because it allows him to stay focused. Between periods, he typically drinks lots of water and eats a banana. Right before returning to the goal, he likes to perform an easy stretch.
His goal is to stay focused on the game, yet to try and relax as much as possible before getting ready for the next period.
“Most of the time I am strict with what I am doing,” Norrena said. “Occassionally, I get off of my routine, perhaps if I have to adjust my equipment or ice a part of my body, but I like to stay in that routine to stay relaxed and focused.”
Can you please explain what teams mean when they mention that players are on the waiver wire? How does a player go on, clear, or get picked up on waivers? What is the purpose of waivers?
---Mike F., Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
According to Chris MacFarland, the Blue Jackets' Manager of Hockey Operations, waivers is a procedure based on games played in the NHL and length of service in terms of years pro to determine whether a club can freely assign a player to its minor league affiliate. After a player appears in a certain number of NHL games or is on an NHL contract for a certain number of years, then a player will be deemed to need waivers before he can be sent to the minor leagues.
When a club places a player on waivers through the NHL, the NHL communicates to all of the other clubs who is on waivers, it is typically a 24-hour procedure. So for example, Club A places John Doe on waivers on Monday by Noon….the NHL will communicate to all other clubs that player John Doe is on waivers and all of the other NHL clubs will have 24 hours to submit a claim.
If more than one club claims a player, the club with the lowest number of points (based on percentage of games played) will be awarded the player. If no one claims the player, the player can then be freely assigned to the minors. If the player is recalled from the minors after “clearing waivers,” he will not need to clear waivers again until he either has been on an NHL roster for 30 days or has played in 10 NHL games.
Again, this is a quick snapshot of the waiver procedure. There are important considerations like “how old was player when he first signed his NHL contract,” “did he play professionally in Europe after first signing an NHL contract,” but for the most part the answer above should give you an understanding.
Last time in the mailbag, the question was asked about Klesla changing jersey numbers. This year, I noticed that Duvie Westcott also changed numbers. Why did he do this?
---J. Patrick L., Forest Park West, Ohio
Duvie Westcott changed to the No. 10 because he grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, idolizing Hall of Fame forward Dale Hawerchuk, who donned the No. 10. Hawerchuk played 17 seasons in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers, scoring 518-891-1409 in 1188 career games.
“I tried to wear his number whenever I could when I was younger,” Westcott said. “It just kind of caught on there. I wore it in juniors, then in college and then in the minors.”
Westcott signed with Columbus on May 7, 2001, and was blocked from having the number in the Jackets organization by forward Serge Aubin, who wore the No. 10 sweater from 2000-02. Westcott made his NHL debut on Mar. 16, 2002 with the No. 15 on his back and briefly had the No. 10 in training camp in 2003, but the Jackets signed veteran forward Trevor Letowski, who would wear the No. 10 from 2003-06.
“Trevor came in and stole the number. No deal was made…it was a pure stiff arm,” Westcott said with a smile.
When Letowski signed with Carolina during this off season, the No. 10 opened up and Westcott grabbed it.
In the last mail bag, the question was asked about Klesla changing his uniform number and the response was that “there really wasn’t any particular reason why he changed numbers last year, he honestly like the No. 97 better.”
Well, it might just be a rumor as Rostislav Klesla played the 1997-98 season with HC Opava in the Czech Republic and did not move to the United States until the following year, playing for Sioux City of the USHL in 1998-99.
I know many hockey players, even those on rival teams, are good friends in the off season, living near each other in the same small towns. My question is how much contact do the Jackets have with opposing players on game days? Do they see each other before the game or go out for dinner afterwards? Do tensions on the ice just disappear after the horn sounds?
---Daniel B., Hilton Head Island, SC
Who better to answer that question than the Jackets’ Jody Shelley? “You don’t have many friends. The friends that I have are all guys that I played with here, like if Geoff Sanderson came into town with Philadelphia this year, we would go out to dinner.
“But when you hit the ice, it is total business. I don’t care if it is a brother or a buddy, if you have to run them over, you have to run them over. You have to do whatever you have to do. When the horn sounds, the game is over and you take off your gear and you go home and next time you meet you go at it harder if you have to.”
Thank you for all of your questions. Don’t forget, throughout the 2006-07 NHL season, CBJ.com would like to answer questions from Blue Jackets fans. E-mail your query to CBJ.com for possible inclusion in a future mailbag column, which will be published every other Sunday. Letters can be addressed to any member of the organization and may be edited for brevity, length and/or content. Please include your name and location along with your question. Click on the CBJ mailbag to submit your question: CBJWebchat@bluejackets.com.
The next CBJ Mailbag column will appear on Sunday, Oct. 29. Keep the questions coming!.....
I have heard from several sources that Klelsa changed his number to 97 because 1997 was the year he moved to the United States. Is this just a rumor?
---Dustin, G., Reynoldsburg, Ohio