by professor ggrib
The minor earthquake felt coming from central Ohio last nite was not actually an earthquake. It was not a sonic boom it was the fans at Nationwide arena cheering on their Blue Jackets. Yes, they did lose. They are out of the playoffs—FOR THIS YEAR.
It’s hard to decide where to start in the accolades for this years team. Should it be for the best record in CBJ history? Should it be for the underdog playoff effort? Should it be for capturing and energizing fans in Columbus? Should it be for gutty efforts?
First let me say that in living HD The Columbus Blue Jackets grew up and brought positive national recognition to the franchise and the city. The CBJ have gone from #30 [the last team] in the NHL to making a huge statement in the playoffs in just 3 seasons.
Second I’s like to say that the Penguins led the NHL in man games lost to injury. And yet they still finished first in the Metro Division. They were healthy to start the series and although suffering a few injuries, remained strong experienced and very talented. There is no shame in losing to them. The Blue Jacket effort in the series was nationally recognized.
Third, the fans and the city responded to their effort in a way that can only be described as fantastic. Down by 4 goals and the crowd standing and shouting encouragement. That’s unheard of in Columbus. OK, the 5th line is a bit hokey. But don’t tell the 19000 fans who were at Nationwide last night, they believe it.
A little less than 2 years ago, John Davidson promised to bring playoff hockey-high interest hockey- fan enthusiasm hockey to Columbus brick by brick. He and the new GM Jarmo Kekalainin have done this just as he said. There was no “blow it up and let’s build it new” it’s been a slow brick by brick process.
I’m sure it helped that several players have had career years. Joey-break out season, Bob-most wins ever, Mackenzie-career year. etc, etc. Todd Richards, most successful CBJ coach and his best season….Calvert, Dubinski, Atkinson, Jenner, Murray…..The list goes on.
This off season, Jarmo must try to work his magic again and there are some hard decisions to be made. [Example D Mackenzie the oldest player with a career season is a free agent????? Johansen, a free agent after his 33 goal break out season.
But for now let’s honor the team for the season they just gave us.