After visit by brass, Carter looks forward to playing for Blue Jackets

Jeff Carter hopes to help get Blue Jackets pointed in right direction.
Jeff Carter hopes to help get Blue Jackets pointed in right direction. (Associated Press)
Posted: June 28, 2011

Jeff Carter said Thursday he would need the weekend to digest his shocking trade to Columbus.

But when yesterday rolled around and Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson had still not personally heard from Carter, the player for whom he partly mortgaged his team's future to acquire, Howson started to get a little worried.

Howson, in turn, rounded up an envoy that included head coach Scott Arniel and team captain Rick Nash to fly to Philadelphia and drive to Carter's offseason residence in Sea Isle City, N.J., to seek out their new star player.

The four emerged after a 90-minute meeting, which Howson later called "very positive" on his Twitter feed, and Carter finally publicly put to bed his 6-year tenure with the Flyers.

"You feel anger and betrayal and all of the emotions that go along with being traded," Carter told the Columbus Dispatch. "Sometimes, it's best to just sit back and think about what you're going to say than get right out there and say things that you'll regret."

"Betrayal" was Carter's way of referencing a face-to-face meeting his agent, Rick Curran, said took place last week in which Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren reassured Carter he would not be traded.

Carter is set to begin a fresh 11-year, $58 million contract - except that it's in Columbus and not Philadelphia. His no-trade clause was set to kick in on July 1, 2012.

"My decision not to talk had nothing to do with being traded to Columbus," Carter said. "I know that it's a team that has struggled in the past, but there's a great future. I'm excited to be there, to be a part of it."

Carter, 26, said yesterday he was excited to be united with perennial Blue Jackets All-Star Rick Nash. The two played against each other in 2001-02 in the OHL, while Nash played for Carter's hometown London Knights.

"Anytime you get a chance to play with Rick, it puts a smile on your face," Carter told reporters on a conference call. "I'm excited to get out there and see what we can do together. A lot of people have been keying on him, and it's not easy to do things by yourself. I'm looking forward to helping him out and helping the team out. I'm really excited about letting him develop into a better player than he is now."

Still, it will be a big adjustment for Carter. Whether it's going from a big team in a big market to classic college town, or going from the Eastern Conference to one of only two Eastern time-zone teams in the Western Conference, or going from a bona fide Stanley Cup contender to a franchise that has never won a playoff game, it will all be new.

"It's still a work in progress, but I think we can be pretty good," Carter said. "I really appreciate them making the trip down here to come see me. It shows a lot on their part, that they're excited to have me. We talked for a while about the team, their direction. We talked about the city. Just sitting down and talking with them, it got me real excited, and wishing the season would start a little earlier."

Slap shots

The Flyers announced the signing of enforcer Tom Sestito. Sestito, 23, played in nine games with Columbus last season before being traded to the Flyers at the Feb. 28 deadline. Sestito actually announced his own deal on Twitter weeks ago . . . The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee will announce its class of 2011 today at 3 p.m. live on NHL Network, which could finally include former Flyers coach Fred Shero . . . The Flyers will hold a news conference today to formally introduce newly acquired forwards Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn. *

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