Feb 7, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Artem Anisimov (42) battles for the puck with San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. The Sharks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

My Pre-Game Words To The Post-Olympic Columbus Blue Jackets

Now that the Olympic break is over, NHL action is starting again.  The Blue Jackets are in a great position to make a push to the playoffs, and it is going to be very exciting.  After a three week break, the Jackets hit the ice again tonight.  But, as a fan, sometimes don’t you wish you could give the pre-game locker room speech?  You know, the one right before the big moment in every feel-good sports movie.  Well, if I could do that tonight, this is exactly what I would say:

Jan 30, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) hugs goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) after a win against the Washington Capitals at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won the game 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Time really does fly by.  Thirteen years ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were an expansion team emerging into the NHL.  Players, coaches, trainers and general managers have all come and gone over the years.  But the biggest problem this club had was that they never developed an identity.  The words “country club atmosphere” was used to describe the locker room more often than not, and there were many times where you couldn’t squeeze an ounce of passion out of the team.

Yet, in a blink of an eye, here we are.  It is 2014, and the shadows of that former club no longer grace the doorstep of this locker room, and our aim is to keep it that way.  The air is electric, it is alive and there is a national and international spotlight shining bright on each and every one of us.

But all of that, even events that happened yesterday or today is already in the past.  Everything that we have done to this very moment is gone.  There is no looking back, there is only forward momentum.  A new season starts today, and we are right in the middle of it, pushing for a playoff spot.

Day in and day out for over a decade, fans have poured into the arena, filled restaurants and bars and sat glued to a television because they have had hope.  Hope that a winner, and anticipation of when a new day would come.  I am proud to say that the time is now.  This group is that winner.  You have the tools you need to be successful, and you have already proven that you can be.  All you have to do is want it!

We are no longer a team that others write off.  We have proven time and time again that we bring our A-game every night.  Home or away, we must make every team fear us.  The biggest addition that we have made to this team over the past year is a winning mentality, and that comes from a combined effort of every person in this room.

There will be no excuses, and if there is a bump in the road, you pick yourself up and do it better the next day.  This team now has an identity, and our opponents know it.  We are the Columbus Blue Jackets.  We do not let up, and we do not back down.  We show no weakness, and we show no mercy!

The path to Lord Stanley is directly ahead of us, and there is only one way to get there, which starts with a win right now!

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