Remember back when the NHL was locked out? We all talked about how much we missed hockey. And through the recent weeks, now that we finally have hockey back, it’s easy, and a little nostalgic to see some of the old conversation threads and patterns revive themself. We’re back to debating goalies, lines, and what we should do with our three (3!) first round picks in the draft. But maybe that layoff was just long enough that some of you NOT familiar with the Blue Jackets have grown rusty in all things NHL speak. The CBJ trolls are back out – though not in significant numbers yet – and unfortunately, this year’s crop is sadly disappointing thus far.
Look. We get it. We finished last in the league last season. We also don’t demonstrate a long tenured winning or playoff history (yet). But here’s the thing, we aren’t idiots. So if you are looking to take a swing at Blue Jackets fans, please at least try to be creative. Heretofore, please understand that the following comments are overused, not funny and quite frankly reflect on you for not coming up with something better:
1. There are Blue Jackets fans?
Its amazing to me that people seem to believe in Santa but not hockey fans in Columbus? Suffice it to say that while CBJ attendance is still struggling, we know that winning brings in people. The last five games have brought in sellout or near sellout crowds (and that’s with teams on the other side of the country coming in and a major snow storm occurring on a game night). That means despite our perceived horribleness, people are starting to show up. More and more. Do we have the draw of generations of families who’ve grown up with an original 6 team which has all the Stanley Cups? Nope. We don’t. We’re 12 years old and we’re building. I’d point you to Pittsburgh or Chicago’s attendance from about 10 years ago as well as a reference for what happens when your team’s record isn’t good.
2. Columbus isn’t a hockey market
Another good fact to know – Columbus boasts the second largest adult hockey league in the country. People here are passionate about hockey. Period. For a city that “grew up” with an identity of college sports and arguably football as a focus, the swell of interest up and down all the major age groups are a marketer’s dream.
3. Columbus is going to lose their team to <insert city name here>!
This one is my personal favorite because it’s the easiest one to factually disprove. Last year, Blue Jackets brass worked with Franklin County leadership to negotiate a deal that made Nationwide Arena a publicly owned arena. This freed up the major financial burden on team ownership and management promptly signed a lease contract with said arena to 2039. The team is committed to staying that long (at least) as penalties for early termination are unmanageable.
4. The team was stupid enough to trade RICK NASH!
Rick Nash is good at hockey. Rick Nash played in Columbus. Rick Nash was traded to New York for Tim Erixon, Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and a first round pick. Rick seems to be doing quite well in New York, and Columbus hockey is improving steadily with all three assets playing significant time (and playing well) at Nationwide Arena. Sometimes people just need a change of scenery. So far, everyone seems pretty cool with what went down so let’s let it go. It’s not like this trade is going to be undone or anything. Columbus has already gone through the debate and mourning/celebration phase. We’re over it. If you still need more incentive to move on, consider the current Blue Jackets streak of consecutive games with a point (Nine, which is a franchise record).
5. No Playoff Wins EVER!
Congratulations – you read stats correctly. We are keenly aware of our team’s shortcomings which is why many have passionately demanded better from the organization. However, if you are following hockey, you are also aware that, while not acceptable, Columbus is tied (!) for 19th (!) in the league for the longest drought without a Stanley Cup. We’re 9th in terms of even reaching the post season, and we are FOURTH in terms of longest run of not making it out of the first round. Read this if you don’t believe me. And look, I don’t offer this as an excuse to say we’re happy but really, there are a lot of teams that have been around a lot longer than us that are equally struggling when it comes to playoffs. We want to get better.
6. Scott Howson is your GM and he is bad at hockey.
I’m not going to beat a dead horse. He’s gone and well: John Davidson. He’s kind of legit.
So in closing, I thank you future CBJ trolls for your time. We’re here, we’re not a “great” team yet, but we aren’t stupid. And if you’re going to try and insult us, at least put some effort into it y’know? Because then at least it will be worth laughing at. Quite frankly, when you keep using the list above, it’s just boring and it reflects more poorly on you than on us. And, if I may also offer a word of warning: Those of us who are fans? We will accept our current standing – whatever it is – because, gosh if you lose to us, what does that say about YOU? (Oh, hai Detroit :) )