Russian Columbus Blue Jackets Blur Rooting Interests


The 2014 winter Olympics are almost upon us, with only a few weeks to go until opening ceremonies. While there will be plenty of fun and interesting sporting events to watch, everyone over at will have their focus on one specific event: men’s ice hockey.

The last winter Olympics, which occurred in 2010, was one to remember. (Or forget, depending on if your name starts with “Ryan” and ends with “Miller.”) I didn’t want to do this, but I’ll recap: Team USA, down a goal, scores one late to tie it up only before, who else, Sidney Crosby (ugh) goes 5-hole on Miller to give Canada the gold in OT.

Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t make me do that again!

So with all of that in mind, and as Team USA gears up for another run at the gold, I”ll be ready to cheer. But before I paint myself up like an American flag, there’s something…uncomfortable that needs to be said. The Columbus Blue Jackets have 0 (zero, zilch, nada, goose egg) players on the USA roster and 4 (count em’, four) on the Russia roster.

Are we supposed to root for Russia? Are we supposed to look past the cold war (come on guys, it’s about time anyway), and give our comrades (see what I did there?) a clapping hand? I mean they do have 4 of our boys in union blue, including Sergei Bobrovsky.


Okay, just kidding. It’s a tough question because it’s so uncomfortable. Team USA has no Blue Jackets (not even former Captain America, Jack Johnson or Brandon Dubinsky). So does that put a damper on your rooting interests?

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Yes and no. For me, it’s crystal clear: I root for Team USA, even if they were all Detroit Redwings (see what I did there?). Okay, I”ll stop. Because, when it comes to formats like the Olympics, you support your country. Yes, you want your home team’s players to do well, but not at the expense of your own country.

And I feel justified in saying this because world formats, such as this one, don’t come around very often. At least not in this magnitude. If team USA faces Russia, I want to score on Sergei Bobrovsky. In a perfect world, we’d beat him 1-0 in overtime. But at the end of the day, it’s country over city.

But what if Team USA loses early? (Damn you, Miller!) Who do we root for? Fellow Blue Jackets players? That’s a tough question to ask because it makes you feel uncomfortable choosing another country. Is there a right or wrong answer?

When it’s all said and done, however,  and everyone goes back to their cities, things change. I’ll be happy to have Bob, Artem Anisimov, Fedor Tyutin, and Nikita Nikitin back in Columbus. I’ll be proud that they fought for Russia. But I’ll be even more proud that we beat them.