Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
I have been a Blue Jackets fan since they came into the league in 2000. Every time I went to my grandma’s house I would look through the sports section of The Mount Vernon News, just to check and see where my team was in the standings. The majority of the time that I checked the paper, the Blue Jackets were at the bottom of their division, but they were still my team.
I remember one ski trip I took to Holiday Valley in New York, it is big time Buffalo Sabres country for those of you who don’t know. I was riding the lift and wound up discussing hockey with the gentleman beside me. He said he was a Sabres fan and proceeded to ask me who I rooted for. I told him proudly, “The Blue Jackets are my team!” Even the judgmental smirk on his face didn't shake my devotion to my beloved Jackets.
I remember the random string of players that consistently managed to underachieve. You know, players like Mark Denis, enforcer Jody Shelley (one of my favorite players at the time, I’ll admit it), and more recently guys like Steve Mason and Jeff Carter. This team has seen a pretty fair share of players who were supposed to be good, but just didn't perform up to their potential. Sure, in 2009 we made the playoffs, but it was back to business as usual the next season. The conclusion that can be drawn from 2009…we didn't really deserve to be there, the numbers just happened to work out in our favor.
Like practically everyone else, I had practically written this team off at the beginning of this season. This is not to say that I didn't care about my team, but I basically knew that it was a lost cause. I figured that a long and painful season was to be endured before John Davidson could work his magic in next year’s draft. I even thought to myself, “If we fans can just tough it out for this season, surely we will be rewarded for our patience by next year’s team.” (I know…spoken like a true Cubs fan…but that’s for another article.)
Then out of nowhere, the Jackets start playing like a team that knows what real hockey looks like! Nobody (not even the experts…nor John Davidson himself) saw this coming and I love it!
The Blue Jackets sit here, a team who was expected to roll over for a season in order to get a nice draft pick, poised to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs! By some inexplicable voodoo, my boys started playing out of their minds after starting the season like so many Jackets teams before them. The position players have been playing unselfish hockey, Sergei Bobrovski has been standing on his head night after night, and the most unbelievable part of all…the Jackets were buyers at the trade deadline!
I remember listening to the radio on the day of the deadline and I was absolutely speechless. I’m used to watching players pack their bags and head out for a brighter future with other teams when the trade deadline rolls around. But this year, guys were coming here instead! I came home that day and told my wife, “Baby…this team is gonna do something huge because they traded to win instead of selling players to the highest bidder! I've never seen this before!” She’s not a hockey fan, so she had no idea what I was talking about, but I was happy!
Now here we sit, and it doesn't even feel like the Jackets need to get lucky in order to make the playoffs! It looks more like they are meant to be there and I love it! GO JACKETS!