(This month, Puck Daddy asked bloggers for every NHL team to tell us The Essentials for their franchises — everything from the defining player and trade, to the indispensable fan traditions. Here is the crew from Dark Blue Jacket, giving us The Essentials for the Columbus Blue Jackets.)
By Dark Blue Jacket
The Dark Blue Jacket blog writing team of DBJ, Gallos and Alex respectfully submit the following "Essential" Columbus Blue Jackets items for the hockey world's review and consideration. Having a team that has only made the playoffs once in its 11 seasons (and we're still waiting for the first playoff win...), there's a fascinating combination of simplicity, complexity and humor in compiling a list of that which is truly essential about Columbus Blue Jackets hockey.
Enjoy the ride, everyone.
DBJ: Rick Nash. Came in when the team was still in its expansion phase, took them to the playoffs and bailed out rather than hang around for the rebuild once the team hit the cellar. (Like too many fans, sadly.)
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Alex: 2008-09, they made the playoffs, duh.
Gallos: Game 4 in the playoffs against Detroit. I have been in the horseshoe, when Ohio State was playing Lou Holtz's Notre Dame and Eddie George put the team on his back and started the run to the Heisman trophy. The atmosphere in the 'Shoe was electric, but absolutely did not hold a candle to the atmosphere in Nationwide Arena that day. The loudest, most explosive, craziest sporting event I have ever been to, bar none. It was absolutely electric, and I long for more.
Alex: Nash's playoff-clinching goal is probably the way to go, even though his insane highlight-reel goal against Phoenix is still my favorite. To me it's essential CBJ because it was a great goal, but ultimately meant nothing.
DBJ: Jeff Carter to LA/Jakub Voracek and 1st rounder (Sean Couturier) to Philadelphia/Jack Johnson and LA's 2013 1st rounder to Columbus. This actually was two trades, but Columbus fans look at them as one extended personnel move. (We're used to drawn-out personnel actions. Rick Nash was trade bait forever, you know. Can you believe nobody wanted to give up a Stanley Cup-winning roster?)
Point being, Columbus fans are highly bullish on Jack Johnson. Don't be surprised if he's sporting the "C" in C-bus real soon.
Gallos: Ken Hitchcock. The dude wrested a team of nobodies and Nash onto a course that ultimately led to their first playoff appearance. He did this with sheer strength of will, hard work, and hockey acumen. Until the franchise villain did his thing (see next) Hitch had this group of nobodies chasing the playoffs. He deserved a Jack Adams for that year, though there was no way he was going to get it. It was an amazing coaching job. His ending in Columbus was ignominious, as he hung around under contract after the idiot GM fired him. He finally got his due in St. Louis this year, winning the long deserved coach of the year.
DBJ: Adam Foote. With all due respect to Jeff Carter (who didn't sign here, never wanted to play here, etc.), Carter wasn't the team captain that had a plane waiting at the airport after rolling his franchise over a barrel. Foote can keep his Stanley Cup rings - he's persona non grata in Columbus.
Alex: Derick Brassard vs. James Neal on 12/18/2008. Ill-advised fight that ended his excellent rookie season prematurely with a separated shoulder. He has never been the same since.
DBJ: Ken Hitchcock. He figured out a way to get this franchise to the playoffs. Nobody else has come close. 'Nuff said.
DBJ: George Matthews. You have absolutely no idea what the CBJ radio play-by-play voice is saying, but you sure as heck have a good time listening to him. He gets downright apoplectic when the Blue Jackets score.
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Gallos: The Cannon, baby. The freakin' Cannon. Other teams hate it. 'Nuff said.
Gallos: $9 Beer. Say no more.
DBJ: The new 3rd sweater. Put Boomer aside (as he unfortunately debuted at the same time) ... the new jerseys (color scheme, cannon logo, etc.) have pretty much taken the fanbase by storm.
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