Jeff Carter has finally spoken.
After the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Blue Jackets sent an envoy that included general manager Scott Howson, coach Scott Arniel and captain Rick Nash here to speak to a radio silent Carter, the former Flyers leading scorer has finally addressed his stunning trade.
"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.
"My decision to not talk had absolutely nothing to do with being traded to Columbus. 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."
The two sides reportedly met for 90 minutes on Monday at his beach house in Sea Isle City, N.J.
“It was great," 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.”
EARLIER: (provided for perspective on how tough it was to get Carter to talk)
As of Saturday, no member of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization – save a small text message exchange with captain Rick Nash – including general manager Scott Howson had any contact with Jeff Carter.
Carter was dealt last Thursday.
On Monday, the Blue Jackets decided to take the matter into their own hands, sending an envoy of club personnel to Philadelphia to meet with the player who is supposed to be the new face of their franchise.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, team majority owner John P. McConnell, Howson, Nash, and former Flyer R.J. Umberger were flying to Philadelphia today to try and seek out Carter.
Carter has also yet to publicly address his stunning trade.
Carter’s agent, Rick Curran, who said last Friday that the Flyers had given his client re-assurance as soon as early last week that he would not be traded, said he believes Carter will play for Columbus.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an issue,” Curran told the Dispatch.
He is set to begin an 11-year, $58 million contract with Columbus on July 1.
Holmgren denied on Friday night that he had told Carter he would not be traded during their face-to-face meeting.
“I was in the room,” Holmgren said. “That’s not how I would describe the conversation.”
Here’s more from the Dispatch, with two separate stories about the vibe of Carter blowing off his new town and team, imploring the disappointed 26-year-old to “act like a grown-up:”
“It's hard for me to fathom that his agent, Rick Curran, hasn't produced some sort of press release including Carter quotes. You know, something along the lines of ‘I'm very excited for a new opportunity, and I can't wait to get settled in Columbus.’
Trust me, agents have been cranking out ‘quotes’ like this for many years now.
I've spoken to five agents about this situation. They can't believe it. One said: ‘He's got to turn off his emotions for 10 minutes and make a phone call.’
-Columbus Dispatch Blue Jackets beat reporter Aaron Portzline.
“Carter could help reverse the trend by simply doing what most traded players do in these situations - act like a grown-up. It's easy to understand why he is ticked at the Flyers; he signed an 11-year contract with the team because he wanted to be in Philadelphia, and had been told that the trade rumors were only that: rumors. But Carter's petulance is undermining Howson's efforts to improve the team that he is going to play for and if he doesn't at least act like he wants to be here, Carter might even doom it to more losing.
Early in the franchise's history, Columbus was actually a destination for some players. Many saw a bright hockey future in a clean, livable city with an underrated night life and a great family atmosphere. The city hasn't changed, but poor draft picks, bad decisions and a history of losing have made the franchise harder and harder to sell.
The Carter deal should help the team tremendously, but it only added to the team's perception problem. As unfair as it must seem to Howson, he is back at the plate with the game on the line again.” -Columbus Dispatch columnist Bob Hunter.
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