Pieces to the Puzzle

Carter and Wisniewski expect to bring winning ways to Columbus

Thursday, 07.21.2011 / 11:09 AM / Features
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

With a smile on his face and right hand extended, General Manager Scott Howson welcomed the two newest Blue Jackets to the family.

Both Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, acquired by the club in the NHL's offseason, were presented their uniforms in front of the local media and pulled no punches when stating their desire to swiftly turn their new team into a contender.

Carter, 26, and Wisniewski, 27, are each signed to long-term contracts and in their primes – an ideal situation for the Blue Jackets and the organization's goal to get back to the playoffs and cause a little more than a stir.

Photo Gallery of Carter and Wisniewski Press Conference
Watch the Entire Press Conference on Jackets TV

Throughout the press conference, neither player alluded to a sense of "starting over" but building a championship team that already has significant pieces in place.

"We've both seen ups and downs of locker rooms," Wisniewski said. "Obviously we're young guys, but we want to bring leadership as well.

"Winning is contagious. So if you can come in with the right attitude and bring it every game, hopefully people jump on board and we start turning things around."

For a player that spent his entire NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers – a team accustomed to postseason visits – Carter is eager to continue that trend in Columbus.

Winning teams have a bond of accountability and a plan, he said, and the Blue Jackets are on that path.

"If you have one guy off the ship it's not going to go right," Carter said. "You've got to have everyone on board every day when you come to practice, giving it their all to make the team better.

It's definitely tough when it's a work in progress, but when you have everyone on the same page, it usually works out good."

The summer has been a productive period for Howson and his hockey operations staff, who clearly outlined two major goals once the season concluded. Faced with acquiring a top-line center, something Howson said the team has sought for a long time, he was willing to put in the work to have detailed discussions with the Flyers and bring Carter to the Blue Jackets.

"If you look at all the top teams in the NHL - all the true contenders - they're strong down the middle," Howson said. "Whether it's Vancouver, Philadelphia, Chicago, they're all really good down the middle and we feel now with Jeff, with Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard, and Sammy Pahlsson, Derek MacKenzie and with Ryan Johansen coming, we have a chance to be very strong down the middle.

"When (Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren) was ready to pull the trigger, we were only too happy to be there and meet the price and acquire Jeff."

Carter, known as a top-flight sniper in his own right, has no reservations about playing with Captain Rick Nash and sharing the puck.

"I don't think it should be too bad," Carter said with a smile. "I expect us to have the puck quite a bit. You can't score if you don't shoot it, so I think we'll figure things out. Rick's a great player, he has shown it for years and I look forward to playing with him."

Both players openly spoke of accepting the pressure associated with being prime acquisitions and being looked at as difference-makers, players counted on to help catapult a club that went into the offseason seeking help at two very key positions.

The graciously-honest Wisniewski, who has played a variety of roles throughout his career with Chicago, Anaheim, New York Islanders and Montreal, said he's looking forward to answering critics who feel he's a depth defenseman with a long-term contract.

In the end, the idea of being the missing piece helped them find Columbus.

"I don't want to be that guy where you're here and they need to go get somebody else," Wisniewski said.

"That was one of the biggest things coming into free agency - I wanted to come to a team that hopefully, I was the missing piece. And obviously give it my best and try and win games. That's we're paid to do, and that's what I'm coming here in the next season to do."




1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


R. Johansen 82 33 30 3 63
J. Wisniewski 75 7 44 0 51
B. Dubinsky 76 16 34 5 50
C. Atkinson 79 21 19 -4 40
A. Anisimov 81 22 17 -2 39
N. Foligno 70 18 21 5 39
R. Umberger 74 18 16 -3 34
M. Letestu 82 12 22 1 34
J. Johnson 82 5 28 -7 33
B. Jenner 72 16 13 6 29
S. Bobrovsky 32 20 5 .923 2.38
C. McElhinney 10 11 1 .909 2.70
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