There’s Something Special Going on with our Blue Jackets
I was driving back from a work meeting on Wednesday, December 28th, tuned into 97.1 The Fan just after lunchtime.
On the 20-minute drive from Worthington back downtown, the chatter on Columbus’ sports talk radio with Carpenter & Rothman was entirely dedicated to the Blue Jackets and their historic win streak. At the time, they had won their 13th consecutive game, a thrilling home win over Boston.
I approached my work parking lot at the perfect time as the show was segmenting to a commercial. The teaser leading into the break was, “Stay tuned to the keys for Ohio State to take down Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.”
At this moment, it started to sink in. The local media was not only giving the Jackets attention, they were giving the Jackets plenty of air time during the week Ohio State was attempting to clinch a berth into college football’s national championship game.
I think hardcore Jackets fans can relate. The Jackets have always been second or third fiddle in this city behind the Buckeyes, and rightfully so. Historically, the only comparison you can make to this team is the Cleveland Browns of the NHL.
After a decade of being the laughing stock around the league, I am the eternal hockey pessimist. The Jackets always finish with one of the worst records but never secure the top pick in the lottery. Columbus has made good players, like Keith Tkachuk, look like Wayne Gretzky. Every player seems to score his first career goal or first hat trick versus the Blue Jackets. Worst off, our past Captain, Rick Nash, requested to be traded from the only organization he knew.
Since their inaugural season, I have also seen seen glimpses of greatness that deep down make me believe Columbus could be one of the best hockey markets in the United States.
The inaugural game versus the Blackhawks when the Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Jody Shelley’s battle versus Penguins enforcer Krzysztof Oliwa, where he logged more penalty minutes than ice time, which instantly made him a Columbus fan favorite. There was Game 4 versus the Red Wings in 2009, when Columbus was officially introduced to playoff hockey. The 2014 series versus the Penguins, when Columbus won their first home playoff game and the roof nearly exploded at Nationwide.
Whenever the Jackets would hit a high that would excite the Columbus fan base, they somehow found a way to screw things up and kill momentum.
I believe this time is different. With young talent like Zach Werenski and Seth Jones, their blue line is perfectly positioned for the next decade. They have a Vezina trophy winning goalie in Bob who is amongst the NHL’s elite. They have a Captain in Nick Foligno who really cares about the city of Columbus and this organization. They have a forward in Brandan Saad who has won numerous Stanley Cups with Chicago and brings experience to the locker room. They also have sneaky, under the talent radar in players like Alexander Wenngberg.
The city of Columbus is excited about the Jackets approaching the NHL all-time win streak of 17 games set by the ’92-’93 Penguins.
What I’m fired up about is that this team, our Columbus Blue Jackets, have the potential to compete for the Stanley Cup. Not only this year, but for years to come.
Columbus, get ready to witness something special.