Playoff Hopes Hang In The Balance Of Final Seven Games


Mar 29, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets Artem Anisimov (right) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being 14 years old, this is the 13th season of Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey (remember the soul crushing 04-05 lockout?). In all of that time, by far, the best season the team has ever had was that epic run to the playoffs in the 2008-2009 season.

Fast forward to today.  This is now the 5th season since the teams first and only playoff appearance.  The team that made it all the way to the postseason in no way, shape or form resembles the team that you see today.  Of that playoff team, only 4 players still remain on the team.  Care to take a guess?  Try Jared Boll, Derek MacKenzie, Fedor Tyutin and R.J. Umberger.

The most glaring difference between the Blue Jackets of 2008 and the Blue Jackets of 2014 (besides all the new faces) is simply that the team is better.  Much better.  This is a new era of Blue Jackets hockey, so if you are just joining us, you picked a great time to be here.

Apr 1, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Cody McLeod (55) controls the puck as Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski (21) trails the play during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets finished the regular season of 2008-2009 with a team record 92 points (41-31-10).  Currently, as of the time that this was published, the Blue Jackets sit alone in the 2nd and final wild card spot sandwiched between Detroit and Toronto.  They currently have 83 points (38-30-7) and they have 7 games left to play.

The Jackets have games in hand over 3 of the 4 teams that are just behind them reaching for that wild card spot (Toronto, Washington, New Jersey), and they play Philly, who is just ahead of them with 87 points, on Thursday.

I am not going to put this lightly…a win over the Flyers on Thursday could be the biggest win of these last 7 games.

Mar 20, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson (13) skates with the puck during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The Blue Jackets defeated the Canadiens 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

We, as fans, need to know this information.  We need to examine the standings, watch all the other games and scores, because it matters.  The team, however, needs to ignore every last bit of it.  They need to clear their heads and focus on one thing, the game at hand.  They don’t think ahead to their next opponent, and think about what other teams are doing.  Here is the one and only thing the team needs to know:  you are currently in playoff contention and you have 7 games left.  If you win, you are in.

The Jackets only need 9 points to tie the teams season record, and 10 to set a new record.  However those records will not mean a thing if they are not followed by a Stanley Cup Playoff appearance.

It’s time to rally boys…GO GET ‘EM!