COLUMBUS, Ohio – A collection of notes, ideas, ruminations and did you know gathered throughout the week that was for the Blue Jackets:
Item #1: A Football Finn
It’s not every day that 6-foot-5 Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine looks up to make eye contact. He’s a towering figure in most NHL locker rooms, but that changed this week when an 18-year-old mountaineer walked through the doors.
Olaus Alinen, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound Finnish offensive lineman, spent a few days last week with Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and his family. Kekalainen is friends with Finnish football legend Klaus Alinen, the father of Olaus.
It was all part of an unofficial visit to Ohio State, which is one of more than 40 FBS programs with scholarship offers on the table for Alinen. He is currently a senior at Loomis Chafee School, a college-preparatory boarding school in Windsor, Connecticut.
“I was really impressed with him,” Kekalainen said. “I’m not a football expert, and I’m not going to try to be, but I was impressed with him as a person, how mature he was and how he seemed to handle the process he is going through, with so many scholarship offers.
“I hope he comes to Ohio State and makes us football fans too. It was an unofficial visit, but I was happy to help. Finns stick together.
Early last week, Kekalainen traveled to OSU with Alilen to watch spring training and tour the facility.
“It was really a great experience,” Kekalainen said. “Wow, what a fucking setup they have.