When news broke yesterday that Uncle Bob will be out four to five weeks with a groin injury, many Blue Jackets fans experienced sympathy pains in their groins. Some will see this as the death knell for the Blue Jackets’ chances of making the playoffs. Not me. I’m going glass half-full, or maybe more like 1/3 full.
Yes, losing Bob will cause a significant increase in month-to-month sales of over-the-counter acid reducers in the Central Ohio market. But before panic sets in, let’s acknowledge that when Realignment finally came to town, it might as well have come dressed like Santa Claus riding Gary Bettman like a reindeer. The Blue Jackets got an early holiday gift this year when they punched their ticket to to the Eastern Conference. Now that they have settled into their first season, they find themselves in the middle of what looks to be one nasty pillow fight.
Great moments are born from great opportunity. And opportunity, Blue Jackets fans, is called the Metropolitan Division.
With approximately one third of the season in the books, realignment seems to have resulted in a potential playoff scenario that is sure to be entertaining. And ugly. As of Wednesday, the Metro Division has two teams with 30 or more points. The Atlantic and Pacific divisions have five teams each with 30 or more points. The Central Division has six. But no matter how disproportionate the point totals get between the three Have divisions and the Have Not Division, three Have Not teams are making the playoffs, guaranteed. Actually, two Have Not teams and the Penguins are making the playoffs. This is good news.
Even better news: the Blue Jackets are presently a mere three games out of third place, a playoff spot, in the Metro. Contemplate that and let it penetrate the shield of skepticism that is now protecting your groin area. In the three other divisions they would be 10, 13 or 15 points out of third place. Some people called the Metro the toughest division in hockey during the preseason. Fortunately for the Blue Jackets, the opposite appears to be the case, even with the Penguins in the equation.
Sure, the Blue Jackets are going to need to skate on some rough ice without Bob for a month or so, but they just got Dubi back. Horton is getting ready to arrive with a big bow on him right around Christmas. And after that we should get Gaborik back. It may look like we don’t have any arms left, but it’s just a flesh wound.
So, although things look really bad right now, they look really bad in a really bad division, which means that things are really not all that bad. Doesn’t that feel better? Are we good?
Come on, sing it out with me:
And I’m proud to be a Metropolitan, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the Winnipeg Jets, who gave that right to me.