Tonight the National Hockey League playoffs begin! Throughout the land, the sense of excitement and anticipation is palpable. But there is no joy in Mudville — er, Columbus — because the Blue Jackets have once again fallen short. They and their fans are sitting on the sidelines, watching as the ridiculously protracted NHL playoff process gets underway without them.
The Blue Jackets have been in existence for 10 years. During that time, they made the playoffs once, and were promptly bounced out. This record of futility is a kind of perverse accomplishment, because in the 30-team NHL 16 teams — that is, more than half — make the playoffs. To miss the playoffs year after year takes some doing. I don’t know anything about hockey and don’t follow the sport, so I can’t offer even the kind of banal second-guessing that is the stock in trade of most sports fans. It just seems like the Blue Jackets are snake bit, and once a team gets that kind of rep it is tough to dispel it.
As a Cleveland sports fan, I’m used to this kind of dismal performance, but I do feel badly for the Blue Jackets and their fans as they sit back, crack open a Molson’s lager, and wait until next year.