Hockey Season is back! Well not fully back, but preseason hockey is now underway. For the Columbus Blue Jackets, it started with a 5-4 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with Ryan Murray tallying the winning goal. Now this is only one preseason game, but it looks as if the Jackets can keep up the winning ways of last year.
For many Jackets fans, last season was a very pleasant surprise. Expectations had been very low, with Scott Howson doing little to nothing to change the losing ways that had been around since 2009, the only year the Jackets made the playoffs.
The main reason for Howson coming under fire was because of his lack to attract bigger name players, and when he did, they failed epically.
The prime example of this was Jeff Carter. When he first received news that he had been traded, Carter proceeded to not talk to anyone within the organization. Even Rick Nash had a hard time reaching him. From that moment up until the time he was traded, you could tell that Carter had no passion to play here, and who could blame him? Playing for a perennial basement-dweller is never any fun, and he was very lucky to be traded the Los Angeles Kings, where he won the Stanley cup.
The Rick Nash debacle was another black eye under Howson’s tenure. Nash had begun to make it clear that he was no longer interested in playing for the Blue Jackets, and Howson obliged. But, instead of making strong move at the deadline to boost the Jackets’ chances of winning, he instead attempted to wring an arm and a leg out of interested teams, which forced him to settle for a lesser trade at the end of the season (one that was luckily able to pan out with him gone). The only move that Howson is able to take credit for that worked out well was the Sergei Bobrovsky deal, which has made the Jackets a contender for the 2013-2014 season.
Seeing John Davidson and Jarko Keklainen at the helm has inspired hope in a usually decrepit fan base. Big name players like Marion Gaborik and Jack Johnson are not only wearing Jackets sweaters, but they are players that WANT to be here. This is huge for us fans because we now have players who are willing to work hard to take this team to the playoffs. Also, being able to keep Bobrovsky from bolting to the KHL is another ray of hope. Combine these stars with a lot of high-potential youngsters in the lineup, and the Blue Jackets are a team that can make some noise this season, and we will see what happens October 4th at Nationwide Arena!