Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 4/4/13
NASHVILLE Once the jolly ambassador for hockey on television, John Davidson has transformed himself into something of a renovator of moribund NHL franchises. He arrived in St. Louis after the 2005-06 season, when the Blues finished dead last in the NHL. Last season, the Blues posted the third-best overall record in the league. Then he took his tool bag to Columbus last October, becoming the president of hockey operations. Six months later, his Midas touch can be felt on a franchise that has qualified for the playoffs just once in its history. Last July, the Blue Jackets were trading away a disgruntled superstar. On Wednesday, the Blue Jackets traded for a disgruntled superstar. A year ago, the Blue Jackets were playing out the string with meaningless games en route to finishing with the leagues worst overall record. This year, they are engaged in meaningful games, sitting only two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference entering Thursdays road meeting with the Predators. Davidson and his new regime, which includes the league's first Finnish general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen, have helped change perceptions about the Blue Jackets. This Columbus crew currently has the longest points streak in franchise history (8-0-4). Since losing to the Blackhawks 1-0 in regulation on Feb. 24, the Blue Jackets have only lost twice in regulation since. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky whom it should be noted was acquired for draft picks by the former regime has the NHLs second-best save percentage (.927) and sixth-best goals-against average (2.13). All of that has helped to sway views of the franchise and convinced Marian Gaborik, one of the games premier goal-scorers, to waive a no-trade clause to come from the bright lights of New York City and Broadway where he was in the doghouse of Rangers coach John Tortorella to the fertile soils of the Midwest. Gaborik said the move by Davidson to fly to the New York area and pick him up in a plane was "very classy." "I think the team is going in the right direction the way they wanted me pretty badly so it creates a lot of excitement from all the guys," Gaborik said on Thursday upon his arrival with his new team. Also, the new structure and attitude of the Blue Jackets organization "really helped my decision," Gaborik said, "so Im glad I did it." Davidson told him the team needed his goal-scoring prowess. "Were trying to win now," Davidson was quoted as saying in The Columbus Dispatch, and were trying to win in the future." Wednesdays triumphant trade deadline stood in stark contrast to last spring, when the major drama centered around Rick Nash wanting out of Columbus. The Blue Jackets didn't deal him right away; but the organizational dysfunction was such that after the deadline lapsed, then-general manager Scott Howson held a press conference to reveal the club had no immediate desire to trade Nash, even though he requested separation from the franchise that drafted him. Now, the shoe, so to speak, is on the other foot. "Its a credit to the players because they put themselves in this position and now management has brought in players to get to the next level and try to get to the next level," said Todd Richards, who became interim coach in January 2012 when the Blue Jackets fired Scott Arniel, before getting the permanent job in May. "And that's what you want when you're a player or when you're a coach. Its up to us now as players and coaches now. Were all excited. You could sense the energy on the room." Nashville coach Barry Trotz, who has been with the franchise since 1997, has seen the best and worst of Columbus over the last 16 years. "I thought they made some great moves in terms of showing their fans that they're serious of making a playoff run," he said, alluding to Columbus's other trade-deadline acquisitions forward Blake Comeau (Calgary) and goalie Michael Leighton (Philadelphia). "Theyve played well enough to be there. Early in the season, they looked like they were dead and gone," Trotz said. "But to Todd's credit and the coaching staff and the players in that room, theyve rallied to put themselves into position to get in the playoffs; and they made some bold moves from an offensive standpoint." The Blue Jackets have 12 games left to make good on this season's promise. But if not, their formula which includes balanced scoring their top-seven points leaders range from Vinny Prospal's 22 to the 15 of Artem Anisimov, Nick Foligno and defenseman Jack Johnson the goaltending of Bobrovsky and now the high-end scoring of Gaborik would appear to be a successful one. "Theres always pressure, pressure on myself as well," said Gaborik, a three-time 40-goal scorer. "Its all familiar to me. It's a good challenge for myself and the team. To help make the playoffs would be huge."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker