The Columbus Blue Jackets are fighting for a perch in the National Hockey League playoffs, and in their quest for the post-season they are taking the people of Columbus along for a sweet ride.
The Blue Jackets, unfortunately, have a record of failure. Since beginning play in 2000, the team has made the playoffs precisely once. In most of those years, the Blue Jackets collapsed and were out of the playoffs early — which means there hasn’t been much playoff excitement in the Columbus hockey world.
This year, no one except the most ardent fan had any reason to expect anything different. The Blue Jackets had traded their best player, Rick Nash, and had a grab bag roster. But the team has jelled under the stewardship of coach Todd Richards and has a hot goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, who has instilled confidence in his teammates. To the delight of fans, the team has been terrific in April and has been especially good on its current west coast road trip, on which the Blue Jackets have won four out of five games. With last night’s nail-biter win over the San Jose Sharks, the CBJ moved into a tie for seventh place with two games to play. Eight teams make the playoffs.
It would be great for the city of Columbus to see some playoff hockey that will keep the arena district humming for a while longer, but it would be particularly rewarding to see the franchise generally, and this group of players specifically, achieve some success. The franchise has been a good corporate citizen, and the players are a scrappy, hard-working bunch that it is impossible not to like — particularly when they say the word “aboot.”
So, let’s go, Jackets! Clap, Clap, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP.