Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Columbus Blue Jackets Sign Peca

B Jacks logoThis is a good move by the B-jacks. They've picked up a proven leader at a bargain salary.

Peca has worn the captain's C for 2 teams already. He can play an important role on the penalty killing unit, win a boatload of face-offs and the fans generally love the guy. For a team like Columbus who are going to be making an effort to scratch their way into the playoffs this season, the importance of having someone to give hope to fans who are sick of being cellar dwellers shouldn't be under-rated.

There is already talk about why Peca wasn't signed by another team if his going rate is such a great deal. There have been some insinuations that various teams didn't like what their medical staff had to say after looking at Peca's scarred and battered body. This is normal when there is less than full disclosure on the reasons a certain team may have backed out of a deal (the Rangers in this case). And of course this is the correct and often legal thing to do. But such speculation is as valid as flipping it on its head and saying, well, obviously the Columbus management and medical staff must not have been too bothered by it to make the signing.

Peca preferred to stay with the Leafs  but they were dragging their skates regarding him because they had other priorities.  He and his agent moved on to talks with the Rangers and were involved in at least 3 weeks of discussions with them.  Approaches, negotiations and the associated machinations all take time.  Cap space concerns mean that a player like Peca doesn't necessarily get snapped up as quickly as he once might have.  His measured and respectful comments to the press over the summer regarding his dealings with the Leafs and Rangers are an indication of his character.

I would love to see Peca have a great, injury-free season and help Columbus take a run at making the playoffs. It would be even more supremely satisfying for him if he played a role in handing a season-ending loss to one of the teams that passed him over.

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