Blue Jackets’ Johnny Goudreau returns to Calgary and knows what to expect

Columbus, Ohio – Johnny Goudreau Boos were booed to varying degrees whenever blue jackets Played on the east coast this season. Fans in New Jersey were the loudest, but he also got comets in Philadelphia and Long Island.

It is easily explained: demonsAnd Flyers And Islanders They were all considered potential destinations last summer when Gaudreau, of Carney’s Point Township, NJ, opted to sign as a free agent with Columbus.

In a sense, these three experiences can be seen as a warm-up. Gaudreau knows what awaits him in Calgary on Monday, when he returns to play his first game against flame Since making the decision to change organizations last summer.

There are some ardent fan bases out there NHL “But Canada is a different level,” Goudreau said. “They love their team, that’s why I loved playing there so much. I’ve loved being part of that organization for 12, 13 years. It’ll be fun to come back.

“It’s going to be a completely different experience. (The Flames fans) have been so supportive of me my entire time there. They’re a passionate fanbase. They love the Flames. We’ll see what happens.”

This will be a mostly new experience for the Blue Jackets as well.

They’ve been on the other side of that, though, with ex-players Pierre Luc DuboisAnd Artemy PanarinAnd Sergey Bobrovsky And even Rick Nash is showered with boos when they return to the Nationwide Arena after their messy or embarrassing departures.

Gaudreau said leaving Calgary was a tough decision, one he only came to terms with hours before he became an unrestricted free agent. He signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract extension with Columbus on July 13.

He drew significant criticism from both Alberta fans and the media, not only for stringing along the flames—losing him via free agency offers no compensation—but also for signing with the Blue Jackets, who were not considered as a potential destination.

This sparked a major roster revamp with the Flames, who quickly moved into the trade wing Matthew Tkachuk before they meet the same fate when his contract expires after one year. As such, two-thirds of the NHL’s top streak in 2021-22 went from Calgary.

Gaudreau had one of the great seasons in NHL history with the Flames: 40 goals, 75 assists, and a plus-64 rating.

“They loved[Goudreau],” said Blue Jackets fullback Erik Goodbrason, who also left Calgary to sign with Columbus as a free agent over the summer.

“That season, every time he touched the puck they were at the end of their bench waiting for something to happen, and every so often he would do something. I think they had a lot of respect for him.”

But hell has no fury like a deserted sports fan.

“I spoke to Tkachuk (now with fl) when he returned (to Calgary on November 29), Goudreau said. “We all understand. Sport is great. It brings people together.

“I played (in Calgary) for nine years, and I had some great memories. Now they’re probably a little upset that I’m not around anymore. Yeah I got it.”

Gaudreau had been waiting for this day to come almost ever since he decided to sign with the Blue Jackets.

“It could have been done in October or November,” he said with a smile. Mostly, though, he got tired of talking about it, and had to explain (over and over) why he left Calgary for Columbus.

The Blue Jackets spent Sunday traveling to Calgary, so the intense lights of this game will shine for one day only. The Jackets will take a morning sled at the Saddledome on Monday, play the game that evening, then fly a post game to Edmonton before Wednesday’s game against oilers.

Gaudreau and Gudbranson are likely to have “Welcome Back” videos on the Saddledome scoreboard during the first period TV hiatus.

“I’m definitely excited to be back,” said Goudreau. “I’m excited to see some familiar faces, play against my former teammates, and play at the ‘Dome again. … It’s going to be fun.

“(The video) is going to bring up some great memories. It’s going to be a minute, a minute and a half quick. It would be nice to get recognized and then play the rest of the game.”

Gaudreau was the offensive spur the Blue Jackets had expected, though his play waned as a sense of desperation enveloped the season. In 45 games, he has 42 points (12-30-42), tied for the lead in goals Patrick Laneleading the club in assists and points.

But he doesn’t have anywhere near the support team he played with in Calgary. From the early stages of this season, the Blue Jackets played as a lottery team, not as a playoff contender as Gaudreau had hoped.

“It’s been a tough year,” Goudreau said. “We’ve had our ups and downs and injuries and stuff. It’s going to be fun to come back (to Calgary) whether we’re first or last. It will be a special night.”

Goudreau, Goodbranson, and the Blue Jackets beat the Flames 3-1 on Dec. 9 in Columbus, playing one of their best games of the season. Finding an emotional attachment to the recent games has been difficult, but it shouldn’t be a problem on Monday.

How can Gaudreau’s new teammates best support him?

“Just play our asses and get his win there,” said winger Gus Nyquist. “I am sure it will mean a lot to him.

“I’m sure (Calgary) really wanted to keep him. Any team in this league would want Johnny Goudreau on their hockey team. We’re lucky to be the ones who got him.”

Games earlier this season on the east coast gave the Blue Jackets a little glimpse of what’s to come on Monday.

“I haven’t heard boos like that in Jersey since I’ve been on a team Brad Marchandsaid the Blue Jackets center Sean Corally, a former Boston Bruin. But the boos are the way cheers are in the house.

“You just want him to feel like maybe he’s a little more than that, as a teammate, you’re with him and you’re behind him.”

(Top photo by Johnny Goudreau: Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Leave a Comment