Columbus Blue Jackets Rivalry Oppurtunities


We’ve talked extensively about potential rivalries for the Columbus Blue Jackets. I wrote this piece the other day explaining how moving to the east opened the door to new potential rivalries. After years of failed fire between Columbus and Detroit, the Jackets looked to their neighbors in the east, knocking on the doors of the organizations.

Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Who opened?

A year in, it’s hard to say. The saying goes, “rivalries are born in the playoffs.” If so the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsbrugh Penguins seemed destined for greatness. But as exciting as that first round was, something was missing. At the end of the series, I didn’t hate the Penguins. And they didn’t hate us.

Brandon Dubinsky hounded Sidney Crosby all series long. It was fun to watch. Passion, intensity, winning playoff hockey. What more could you ask for in a series? How about bad blood? Yes, it was intense. That’s because it was all so new. No Pittsbrugh skater confronted Dubinsky for his play against Crosby. And as a result, nothing materialized.

Did anything occur in the 6 games that makes you believe that there will be any carry over intensity? Aside for the obvious, there was nothing in particular special about this series. If this series happens in the middle of a string of playoff appearances, it wouldn’t ultimately be remembered.

Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

So that leaves us with two remaining teams: the Rangers from New York City and the Flyers from Philadelphia.

We know why a rivalry could bloom with New York, right? Flip-flop of rosters, what’s-his-face hitting Sergei Bobrovsky, then getting hit by Matt Calvert, beating the Rangers in New York and then getting beat in Columbus. Those things tend to carry over. There’s disdain for each other. Columbus doesn’t care for Pittsburgh. Columbus hates New York.

But does Columbus hate Philadelphia? Probably not. Will they? Perhaps. Skating for the Flyers will be former Blue Jackets Steve Mason, Jakub Voracek, and R.J. Umberger. Of course Voracek and Mason have faced the Jackets more than once. So why would this year be any different for a rivalry?

Former Philly Scott Hartnell is now on the Blue Jackets roster. Roster swapping, as evident with New York, can have an effect. Hartnell wants to punish the Flyers for trading him. Umberger wants to punish the Blue Jackets for making him feel like he couldn’t make it as a Jacket anymore. And everyone wants to punish Steve Mason.

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Who knows what this season, and future seasons will hold for potential Blue Jacket rivalries? The Penguins could very well end up as a legitimate rivalry. If they meet in the playoffs again and the tables are turned then I say definitely. And the potential rivalry with Philadelphia has never been stronger. But my guess? It’s not a coincidence New York comes to town for the home opener…