Jan 17, 2014; Sochi, General view of Bolshoy Ice Dome in the Olympic Park prior to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets: State of the Union...And Blue

With a little over half the season in the rearview mirror, and the Olympic break creeping up on us, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the Columbus Blue Jackets season, up to last night’s franchise tying 6th straight win. They have a record of 24-20-4, giving them 52 points, good for fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, and sole possession of the last wild card spot.

The Blue Jackets have ten games remaining before the NHL takes a 16 day break, for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. This gives the Blue Jackets another 10 games to continue the hot streak they have found themselves on, and continue to climb the standings ladder. Columbus will have 6 of 10 at home before the Olympic break, and with the way Nationwide Arena has been rocking lately that should mean a sizable home ice advantage for the Blue Jackets. They will have a tough 3 game Western road trip right before the break, but with the way the Blue Jackets are rolling right now I have confidence in this team.

Jan 18, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) looks for the puck during the second period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets are getting healthier as the days go by, and let’s hope the rash of injuries that has plagued them this year has reared its ugly head for the last time. Only 5 Blue Jackets made Olympic rosters, Sergei Bobrovsky, Artem Anisimov, Fedor Tyutin, and Nikita Nikitin made Russia’s squad. While Marian Gaborik made Slovakia’s roster, and is itching to play for his home country in the Olympics, if his collarbone is healed in time. Normally this is where I would go to bat for the Blue Jackets that were snubbed, however with the layoff I think this will give the team some time to rest and get healthy.

I think the snubs will also go a long way into fueling this team, and players like Jack Johnson and Brandon Dubinsky, through the rest of the season and hopefully into a long playoff run. This could be blasphemy but if the American’s can’t win Gold in Sochi, I will be pulling for the home Russian’s, for the pure fact that BOB will be in nyet(see what I did there), and a Gold medal run in Sochi could only see his confidence grow. Which in turn could only mean good things for the Blue Jackets.

September 18, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Marian Gaborik (10) skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Center. The Blue Jackets defeated the Hurricanes 5-4. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

By no means are the Blue Jackets anywhere close to a lock for the playoffs, but this team is riding high right now and a part of me thinks the Olympics could be a bad thing for the streaking Blue Jackets. On the other hand, the rest coupled with the injuries the Blue Jackets have, could make this team healthier than it has been all season. A deep run into the playoffs is going to require all hands on deck, so this team getting healthy is a major concern. The Blue Jackets have started a run reminiscent of last year’s magical ride, they have a long way to go to match that stretch of great play, but hey it’s a start.

With 34 games left the Blue Jackets would theoretically have to go on a run close to 22-10-2, giving them a record of 46-30-6 on the season and 98 points. I do not want to say they would be a lock, but 98 points should be more than enough to get them into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets would probably be anywhere from the 3rd to 6th seed in the playoffs with a finish to the season like that.

All that being said, the state of the Blue Jackets is looking up, and I have been saying for about a month this team just looks like it is finding its way, and playing a better brand of hockey. Let me know what you think CBJ fans, how do you think this season will play out for the Columbus Blue Jackets? Will they make the playoffs, and if so where do you think they will slot in?


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