Sunday, April 28, 2013
No Gimmicks Necessary: Jackets Gain Respect On Their Own
Part of me was pretty excited to see the Columbus Blue Jackets get into the playoffs. Of course, that was before the whole "Lumbus" thing which make everyone so very obnoxious. At that point, I wanted them to tank worse than any tanking from a scene out of "Patton."
And GM Jarmo Kekalainen saying that he hopes people don't think they arrived at something because they hadn't-- which rekindled my enjoyment for the Blue Jackets beyond some gimmick that wore out it's welcome like so much B-Sharps. Yet, they did arrive at the point that they are a team that is to be taken seriously, which is a huge step for a team that was in the shadows of THE Ohio State University.
Looking back, what the front office has done with the Blue Jackets in one shortened-season and one summer has been fantastic. John Davidson is working is magic once again by getting rid of one of the big problems in Scott Howson, despite Howson making bold moves to get rid of Rick Nash and bring in the likes of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, and of course-- Sergei Bobrovsky. One of the bigger moves was to snag Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline, something that showed people actually wanted to be in Columbus.
More over, the move that will happen next year will be a huge one for the Jackets. Going to the Eastern Conference will help the Jackets in terms of finances and will maybe give them a better chance at making the playoffs on a consistent basis-- barring another realignment due to teams moving. Granted, they'll have to play in the same division as four current playoff teams in the East; dealing with lack of travel could make this young team a fresher team which will make them a dangerous team.
Gimmicky things aside, the stir that the Jackets brought amongst hockey fans near and far was one for the ages. It was an underdog team that was all but written off and gave them life. Players who were casted away revitalized themselves, while the front office tries to repair a reputation that has been drug through the mud for a majority of the franchise's existence.
The biggest thing for the Jackets now is to keep it going. Take away from this season what to do to get better next season. Granted, the test will be what a full 82-game slate will provide this team and how much endurance they have-- but from the glimpse we saw this season; there's a good chance they won't let this misstep completely derail the next season.