How the Blue Jackets Went from NHL Laughingstock to the Top of the Standings

January 9th, 2017 by Adrian Dater Leave a reply »

It used to be that any story that started with the line "The Columbus Blue Jackets could win the Stanley Cup this year" was automatically rendered a work of fiction. Not humanly possible. The Blue Jackets were punching bags on the ice and punch lines off.

In the team's first 12 seasons, after joining the NHL as an expansion franchise in 2000, the Blue Jackets won zero playoff games. The only time they made it in those 12 seasons (2008-09), they were swept in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings. The Blue Jackets are one of only two current NHL franchises that have never won a playoff series, along with the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets.

This year, their 16th NHL season (not including the lost one in 2004-05), Columbus' chances of making the playoffs, according to USA Today, were somewhere between slim and none. The Blue Jackets were coming off another sub-.500, non-playoff year, one in which they changed coaches, with Todd Richards yielding to John Tortorella. Tortorella replaced Richards early last season, one in which the Blue Jackets set a modern NHL record for most consecutive losses to start a campaign (eight).


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