NHL update: The Columbus Blue Jackets push for the playoffs

Chris Ginley

Who are these Columbus Blue Jackets and what are they doing in a playoff race? The last and only year the Jackets made it to the playoffs was 2009, and the Detroit Red Wings swept them 4-0. The Blue Jackets have 12 seasons of hockey in Columbus and only four post-season games to show for it.

Lately, the Blue Jackets found themselves in unfamiliar territory — in the thick of the playoff race. Sitting four points out of a playoff spot with nine games to play, and along with the recent acquisition of Marian Gaborik from the New York Rangers, who has three points in his first three games in a Jackets uniform, the Jackets find themselves with a good opportunity to make the playoffs for only the second time in the franchise’s history.

As a result of the NHL lockout, this year’s season was cut to only 48 games, which makes the playoff race even more exciting to watch.

Two home games against the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues await the Jackets before they depart on their west coast swing. Columbus has lost their last two games by a combined 6-1 score.

After the two home games, a 12-day, six game west coast road trip awaits the Jackets, in which they will visit Minnesota, Colorado, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Dallas. This trip is an important one if Columbus hopes to catch fire late in the season. Four of the six teams the Jackets will face currently hold playoff positions in the Western Conference. Away from Columbus, the Jackets sport a 5-11-2, not exactly promising for a team hoping to make a run.

When all is said and done, I do not think the Blue Jackets will make the playoffs, but I do think that they are readily set up for success in the future, along with possibly making a playoff run next year. With Sergei Bobrovszky in net, along with Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov (oddly enough, all came from the Rangers), along with three first round picks in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, it seems that things might be turning around for the Jackets.

2014 Winter Classic Announced

With the Winter Classic on one-year hiatus due to the lockout, commissioner Gary Bettman announced the return of one of hockey’s signature events between two of the NHL’s marquee franchises, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. This will be the second time the Red Wings have played in the Winter Classic — they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in 2009 at Wrigley Field — and the first for the Maple Leafs, who will become the first Canadian team to participate in the event. A record crowd of over 100,000 is expected for the event.

Contact Chris Ginley at [email protected].