Swap separates Stralmans

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- A big part of Anton Stralman's heart remains in Calgary.

Remember Stralman? The defenceman acquired in the summer, but traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets just before the season kicked off.

His fiance, Johanna Allert, and their two children -- Liv, 2, and three-week-old Lowve --are still in Calgary because of immigration issues.

Stralman, who scored a powerplay goal and registered three shots against the Flames last night, knows he's in the doghouse.

"I got her a nice present when we were in San Jose. Hopefully, it might make up for it a little bit. I hope she gets excited when she gets it," he said. "She's doing all the work and she's a bit frustrated she's not able to come here sooner."

Stralman was planning to make a trip to Calgary today or tomorrow to tie up the issues that have left his family behind the past couple of weeks.

"They did not give her a visa when I got mine because we're not married," he said. "They didn't consider her having strong ties to North America even though we have two children together. Hopefully, we get it solved this week."

The Blue Jackets play in Calgary next Tuesday.

Stralman played a few pre-season games for the Flames, but was dealt for a third-round draft choice.

"We came in early to Calgary for the baby, so I was there a month and a half," he said. "We had a great time, really liked the city and it's a good team and fun group. I feel like I've been there even though I didn't play a regular season game. Crazy business, I guess."

Repeat performance?

For the first time in franchise history, the Blue Jackets are among the hunted.

Columbus advanced to the NHL playoffs last season, which means doing what they can to stay ahead of last year's wannabes hoping to take their position in the post-season.

"It's nice. It's all we used to get asked for six or seven years. 'Is this year you make the playoffs?' " said star forward Rick Nash. "We've got a lot to live up to. We have to make sure we make it again and once we get there, play a lot better than we did."

The Blue Jackets were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.

"We have a very hungry club right now," said coach Ken Hitchcock. "We were not satisfied with the way the season ended. We were not satisfied with how we played the last two games and we certainly were not satisfied with the way we played against Detroit."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA

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