The Game’s A-Foote
The Blue Jackets will look to get back on track tonight when they take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Aves bring with them the fifth best record in the West, but have been struggling as of late losing five of their last six. They also bring with them their new captain, who’s no stranger to Columbus Organization. Despite his best efforts it appears that Adam Foote will finally play against the Union Blue in Nationwide Arena.
Flashback to August 2nd, 2005. The lockout had ended less than two weeks earlier and the biggest free agent frenzy the league had ever seen had just commenced. The Blue Jackets threw their hat in the ring and signed veteran defenseman Adam Foote to a three-year contract. He brought with him two Stanley Cups with won with the Avalanche and a wealth of playoff experience. He was supposed to be the leader on the blue line for the Jackets and the man who would help lead them to their first playoff appearance. It wasn’t any coincidence that Luke Richardson gave up his “C” to Foote during that first season.
Now fast forward to two seasons ago. The Jackets are struggling but only a few points out of a playoff position as the trade deadline approaches. Foote is of the final year of his contract and negotiating with rookie GM Scott Howson for an extension. The Jackets and Foote are separated by $1 million in the two-year extension negotiations. On deadline day, Foote is traded to the Colorado, his former team, for a first round draft pick. Or, that is how he downplays it.
Jackets fans remember things a bit differently. They remember allegations that Foote would become a cancer in the locker room, that the “captain” would be a bad teammate, if he were not traded. They remember the private jet that was waiting for Foote as the trade was announced to fly him to Calgary to participate in the Aves first game after the deadline. They remember Foote being a no-show last year in Colorado’s two visits last year.
While most of the team has turned over from Foote’s final season, his betrayal is still fresh in the minds of those who were. Rick Nash, Jason Chimera, Jan Hejda, Jared Boll and Kris Russell remember their individual meetings with coach Ken Hitchcock after Foote’s departure. They remember their captain deserting them in the down stretch. This team is in the midst of its worst stretch of the season and have just three wins in their past 10 games. This team is coming off of an embarrassing 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of their home crowd. This team needs the crowd in this game. This team needs some sort of spark. Here’s hoping Adam Foote can finally provide that for the team.