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Columbus has a plan to keep Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Casino tax revenue would be used to help buy the Blue Jackets' arena from Nationwide while the insurance company would become part-owner of the financially troubled team under a proposal announced Wednesday to keep the team in Ohio.

Team president Mike Priest said he was encouraged by the proposal. Under it, Franklin County would buy the arena for $42.5 million and get part of the city and county tax revenues from a casino being built in Columbus. Nationwide would buy 30 percent of the team for $52 million, and the Blue Jackets would agree to stay until 2039, 13 years beyond the current deal.

The Blue Jackets also would receive incentives to save them about $9 million annually. And Nationwide would buy arena naming rights for 10 more years, providing the team with an additional $28.5 million.

The proposal requires approval from public officials at several levels, for which there is no timetable.

The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs only once in their 11 seasons and seen attendance decline. A report commissioned two years ago by the city of Columbus warned the team might have to move because it was losing $12 million a season.

Isles lock up star: The Islanders agreed to a six-year, $33 million extension with star center John Tavares, TSN reported. Tavares, who turns 21 on Tuesday, was the first overall pick in 2009 and entering the final season of his entry-level contract. He had 29 goals and 38 assists last season.

Bruins: Wing Brad Marchand agreed to re-sign for two years and $5 million. The restricted free agent, 23, had 21 goals and 20 assists during the regular season and five goals during the Cup final, including two in Game 7.

Jets: Defenseman Zach Bogosian signed a two-year, $5 million deal. The restricted free agent, 21, had five goals and 12 assists last season.

Columbus has a plan to keep Jackets 09/14/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 9:32pm]
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