I’ve lived in Columbus, Ohio for over two years and never went to a Blue Jackets game. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly it is because I didn’t want to pay to watch the home team get trounced on a nightly basis. I’m a casual hockey fan and have been a free agent, but no team has really caught my eye. I’m originally from northern Indiana and there are no teams in the state and the Blackhawks have been bad for most of my life. I think I have finally found my team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
I finally went to an NHL game last night, the Blue Jackets played the Dallas Stars. I had great tickets and saw the game from the 5th row. I never realized how tall most of the players are and the speed of the game. I have watched hundreds of games on television and I have found myself watching more the last few years, but my attention usually strays away after one period. I found myself in-tune to every play and didn’t want to leave my seat. Dallas ended up winning the game in a blowout, 7-3, but really the Blue Jackets played a horrible first period and pulled the rookie goalie, Steve Mason, in the middle of the first period. They ended up putting even more of a rookie in the game to see what he can do, it wasn’t too pretty.
The Blue Jackets are setting themselves up for a possible playoff spot. As of today, they are sitting in the 8th and final spot, but there are a few needs they need to address. They need a veteran goalie to backup Mason and to also provide a mentor for the young stud. Pascal Leclaire might be out for a long time and they need someone other than “Dubie,” the young, young goalie, for backup purposes.
Another need would be a defenseman that has been in the playoffs before and can handle top-tier forwards. They never really filled the void that Adam Foote’s depature left in the defense. Russell, a promising player, isn’t much of a defenseman, he can skate like a forward and should probably be a “4th line” forward, not a 1st or 2nd line defenseman.
Lastly, they need to trade for Doug Weight. There have been rumors that they have been inching close to a deal for about a month, but no new news lately. Adding a few veterans at each position may be needed for them to even make the playoffs and not get swept.
The Blue Jackets are a fun, young team and could be peaking over the next few years. The state of Ohio have never had a winning team and I believe if they start winning, the crowds will come out and support the team. The game that I went to last night was a sellout, if not really close to one. Columbus has one of the best stadiums in the NHL and the city needs to see a winner before this town can become as nuts about the Jackets as it is about Buckeye football. If the Jackets miss the playoffs this year, I’m positive that next year they will improve even more and could possibly contend for a spot near the top. Filatov, Voracek, Mason, and Brassard will all have a year under the belt and will improve enough to help Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets to become a contender in the NHL. It’s a bold statement, but if the Tampa Bay Rays can become a winner, why can’t the Blue Jackets?