Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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We all remember that lovely time last winter when the Blue Jackets captivated the entire city of Columbus by making a glorious run at the playoffs, coming up just short in the end. Needless to say, nobody expected this team to be that competitive this early in the rebuilding process. Yes, last season made it abundantly clear that this would be more of a build than a rebuild.
The Blue Jackets started off the season a little bit shaky…okay…they were just plain bad. We all started to wonder if Goalie Bob was just a younger, Russian version of Steve Mason as we watched our team drop game after game. We couldn’t help but ask ourselves, “What happened to that team we saw last year?” The names on the jerseys are all the same, but somehow things just looked different.
Well, if you haven’t been paying attention, the boys from last winter are back! Somewhere in the last month or so, they remembered what good hockey looks like and they’ve been playing lights out ever since. Plus, we’ve seen just how big of an addition Nathan Horton was to this team. He has elevated the level of this team, using his skills and his leadership to build up every younger player around him.
So right now we pretty much stand exactly where we stood last year at this time…except in a different division. Last year we needed to play like mad to clinch the last playoff spot. This year is no different. It’s time for a run like last year, except this year we need to finish the job. Is it possible? Yes. And I’ll tell you why.
- Nathan Horton – Nathan Horton came to the Blue Jackets as a free agent after winning a title with the Boston Bruins. That’s right ladies and gentlemen; he CHOSE to come to Columbus. If that doesn’t make you feel just a little bit giddy about Blue Jackets hockey, I don’t know what will. At any rate, this guy is good. He’s everything we thought Rick Nash was, except he is actually team captain material…a proven leader.
- Sergei Bobrovsky – What more can we say about Goalie Bob other than that he stands on his head like no goalie I’ve ever seen before. This guy is an absolute freak of nature when he’s manning the net for the Jackets. His glove is where slap shots go to die. When you’ve got a solid goalie behind you, it really takes the pressure off of your offense.
- Marian Gaborik – Marian Gaborik has been out for quite a while with a busted collar bone. Add that to the fact that he’s playing to prove that he deserves a contract and you’ve got a recipe for success. Gaborik is coming back to prove himself at the perfect time, when the Jackets can get the most out of the depth and goal scoring ability that he brings them. Look for him to be a key player as the Jackets gear up for a playoff run.
What say you? What do you think are the keys to another big run by the Columbus Blue Jackets?