Dark Ages to Dark Horse: Enjoy the Ride, Columbus

By Chris Pennington on January 28, 2020 at 1:45 pm
Nick Foligno
1st Ohio Battery

Forgive me for jumping the gun. It's the only thing that keeps me sane as a Columbus Blue Jackets fan.

Let me preface with this note too - it's OK to be excited about the team, even if we don't know what the future holds.

It's OK to get excited for a team that has never won a Stanley Cup, never even gotten to one, never even gotten to the conference finals.

This is the enjoyment of being a sports fan - that obviously a championships trump all, but even the championship-less seasons bring lifetime memories.

Heck, even the dark years do (thank you, Rick Nash). 

Dark years, speaking of which, that the Blue Jackets almost sunk themselves into during the summer of 2019 - when three of their best, if not the best players on the club ditched town. The Blue Jackets were supposed to suck this year, friends.

They were supposed to pack up their accolades from three-straight playoff appearances and their banner that says "We Swept the Tampa Bay Lightning" and look to be respectable again maybe in 2032. 

Chalk it up to whatever you'd like for reasons for success. In fact, here are some good reasons. The bottom line, though, is Columbus was supposed to be the bottom-feeder of the NHL this season, and they're proving everyone wrong (even myself) and it feels oh, so good.

After a bumpy 11-14-4 start through nearly 30 games, I was ready to pack my bags for Rebuild City. We had already missed out on Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews in past draft classes by refusing to tank - and I would've pulled every last hair out if we stumbled to a mediocre record without a chance at the lottery, due to a pridefulness of not wanting to enter into a rebuilding era.

Then, we started winning. And couldn't stop. Now, I'm throwing all logic out the window - let's keep this going, baby.

Are the Blue Jackets built for the playoffs? We'll see, I suppose. Without a superstar forward, they could get bounced in the first round. Or, they could channel their inner-2019-St. Louis-Blues and just make a run for glory.

If I were a betting man, I wouldn't go there. But hey, I wouldn't have bet we'd be sitting at the All-Star break with a 27-16-8 record.

What's the driving point of all that I am writing here? I'm not quite sure. I think I am just coming to believe that this might be the most fun Blue Jacket team I've ever gotten to watch, and I'll be a fool to not recognize the greatness I am witnessing in front of me out of fear of what the future brings.

We don't know who will come and go as another summer rolls, around, right? If you lived as a pessimistic Blue Jacket fan for 20 years who was only satisfied with playoff victories and Stanley Cups, you'd be pretty bitter and had missed out on a lot of fun.

Just go with it, folks! Let's take what we have and ride it out. Because right now, the Blue Jackets are hot, and we need to soak it up, for we don't know what tomorrow brings.

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