Friday night the Columbus Blue Jackets hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third game in a four game home stand. The CBJ and Leafs skated out in front of a crowd of 13,930, which is a decent sized crowd. The unfortunate part is it looked and sounded like 13,000 of the people in attendance were sporting Leafs sweaters. From the first drop of the puck a deafening chant of, “Go Leafs Go!” was audible probably from the parking structures outside. By the end of the game the Jackets quieted the rowdy Toronto-faithful, but for most fans of the boys in Union Blue the scene was all too familiar.
Regularly year after year opposing fans invade Columbus and take over the local watering holes and overwhelm the seats in Nationwide Arena, and specifically for the more marquee match-ups. Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, and of course Pittsburgh always draw large crowds, which is great for business, but terrible if you’re a fan of the Jackets. It may still be early in the season, and the CBJ hasn’t gotten off to a stellar start, but it appears if the “Defend NWA” campaign isn’t working out as well as we all hoped. There is one thing that cures what ails the CBJ’s hostile take-over: winning.
This current home stand has been amazing. The CBJ men have stepped up their play behind stellar goaltending and grit. This team looks to be coming together and has been burying the puck behind some of the league’s better netminders. All three games so far have been fun to watch, especially in attendance. Most importantly the boys are bringing home the W’s in convincing fashion. Play like this is what will get the casual citizen of Columbus to pay attention and shell out the dollars to come, and of course keep the die hard coming back for more. It’s long overdue for this city to ice a winner, and the fans deserve it. Quite frankly, we should all be sick and tired of our barn being overrun and its time to take it back. We know the team will work hard and do their part, isn’t it our turn to do ours? The final home game for the four game stretch is tonight against the Anaheim Ducks; get out there and Defend Nationwide Arena!