|Nationwide Arena Glows in a Playoff Light|
Yet here we are.
I am starting to ingest some of the angry emotions from being bounced from the playoffs, and am starting to be able to look back with pride at what this team has accomplished. I'm not in a big hurry here. Playing with the lists of 'firsts' that came this year is going to be a lot of fun.
But first a comment on where this team now stands. In 2008-09 Rick Nash pulled the team to its first playoff appearance by sheer strength of will. I can remember wondering after that series if Nash would be able to climb that mountain again. To his credit I think he tried, but his efforts were in vain, and it became time to move on.
After the 2013-14 playoffs the lack of organizational depth showed, and the team on one hand was unable to shrug off a rash of injuries and on the other stumbled and fell out of the gate, thus putting them well behind in the race, which they gamely finished.
So what about the 2016-17 CBJ? This club was substantially better in all facets than the 2013-14 playoff team and they accomplished a number of franchise firsts. Will they too stumble or be too short handed to succeed? I guess my point is that the 2017-18 team doesn't need to repeat or exceed any of the firsts they had this year, so long as they become the first team in franchise history to go to the playoffs in consecutive years. From there, as we just experienced, we will see what we will see. Experience tempers expectations I guess, but next years team has lofty goals to achieve.
Now for some fun with lists. A couple of cool firsts pointed out by Lori Schmidt (@LoriSchmidt); the first playoff game won in regulation, the first elimination game that the Jackets have won, and of course the corollary, their first road elimination game lost. So that's a step in the right direction. A baby step, yes, but a step.
Next, I think it was the boys over at the Dispatch that pointed out that 10 CBJ players had their playoff debut. In no particular order they are ( - r means they were a rookie):
Werenski - r
Carlson, G - r
Nutivaara - r
Sedlak - r
Bjorkstrand - r
Milano - r
Harrington - r
Anderson - r
It is significant that 8 of the 10 Blue Jackets that made their playoff debut were rookies. There is a lot of growth to be had internally
Enough for now. You will hear plenty of negativity out there. Don't let it bother you. The negatives help if they provide perspective, but they should be regarded warily, especially if the self-aggrandization is evident. Then all you are getting is a narrow view, and it should be considered with caution. I know that some sources I formerly used to gain perspective are now unreliable. It's a shame.
Since I said that, I wanted to clarify that I write these for fun, and I do it for free. When its not fun, I'll quit. I do however, pay for season tickets. So my hockey knowledge is bought with cash money. Whether or not that is wise is probably subject for debate. But its definitely a ton of fun!