As some of my more loyal readers - both of them - may know, I play a little beer league hockey with a guy who works for the Jackets. To protect the innocent we'll refer to him only as Nikolai, because on the beer league ice he is the toe drag.
So, Nikolai has returned from his summer vacation in...um, well somewhere north of Buffalo. He's been back for a few days and is hard at work under Hitchcock's watchful eye. Yup, those stories in the Dispatch are true, the coaches are at it. (And apparently, if you're a Hitch stalker, your best chance to catch him is at Mega Wrap on Front...sit back and wait, he'll get the tuna wrap. Seriously, a dude that big I thought FOR SURE would have better taste in food.)
So, here's my evening with Nikolai. The fact that we dubbed dear Nikolai "The worst inside source in the history of sports" last year should not be overlooked...
TW: So, Nikki, how was the summer?
Nikolai: Pretty good. I drank a lot of beer. Mrs Nikolai was OK with that, who am I to let her down?
TW: This is your first year without Doug, how's it going so far?
N: Doug's gone? Oh yeah...sorry, I met that Scott guy once, figured he was just a puppet for Doug. Doug's gone, really? Wow, could be an interesting year.
TW: You gonna miss Svitov?
N: Who? Svitargh? Oh, the guy that got replaced by Peca this afternoon? No, not going to miss him. Excited about Peca, though. Dude makes a mean appletini.
TW: How's Nash looking?
N: The Nash kid has got a good chance of making the squad out of training camp. Real good chance.
TW: I'm hearing good things about Kris Russell, what have you got?
N: Oh, he's got the tools, weighs 124 pounds soaking wet, though. Hopefully we send him to Syracuse...he can get a few games in before Duvie gets hurt.
TW: So, overall, you like our chances this season?
N: As sick as it sounds, yeah, I like our chances. I'm a bit biased, but I could see us making a nice run this season.
That was this evening's beer and wings with Nikki. Look forward to more non-information as the season progresses.