COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 2012-13 SEASON PREVIEW:
The Columbus Blue Jackets entered the 2011-12 season with high hopes riding the momentum of a slew of high-profile free agent acquisitions, but the team's season soon unraveled after the first few months of the season. The Blue Jackets finished with a 29-46-7 record and posted the worst record in the NHL, marking the third straight year that the team missed the playoffs. Head coach Todd Richards took over mid-season and the Blue Jackets spent much of the offseason revamping their roster and trading their points leader, Rick Nash, to the New York Rangers. Looking ahead to the 2012-13 season, the Blue Jackets will look to become more of a team-oriented organization that will place individual contributions over the efforts of a handful of superstars.
Offensively, the Blue Jackets may have lost their leading scorer, but they have plenty of talented depth players behind him that could cover up his absence. Wingers Vinny Prospal and R.J. Umberger put up more than 40 points each during last season, and the team is also hoping for the continued growth of center Derick Brassard. The team made some wise acquisitions in the offseason by adding center Artem Anisimov, as well as wingers Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno. It may take awhile for the team to gel and learn each other's playing style, but the Blue Jackets have done their job to add complementary pieces which could turn into a potent scoring attack.
The Blue Jackets' defensive lineup is still lead by the talented Jack Johnson, but the team also is counting on James Wisniewski to strengthen the squad's penalty kill and power play opportunities. Behind them, the Blue Jackets have talented young players like Nikita Nikitin and John Moore, who could see an increasing amount of playing time this season. One of the biggest question marks for the Blue Jackets is their goaltending situation. Starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky finished with a pedestrian .899 save percentage after the 2011-12 season, and his backup, Steve Mason had a down season overall as well. One of the two will have to step up his level of play if the Blue Jackets are going to make a postseason run this year.
The Blue Jackets will kick off their season on Saturday, October 13 against the Chicago Blackhawks on the road, and will host their home opener on Friday, October 19 against the Vancouver Canucks. With many changes on their roster from top to bottom, the Blue Jackets certainly have their work cut out for them, but certainly have more than enough young talent to surprise NHL fans this fall.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS EXPERIENCE:
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Stadium: Nationwide Arena
Conference: Western Conference
Division: Central Division
Columbus Blue Jackets Stanley Cup Titles: None yet
Columbus Blue Jackets Conference Championships: None yet
Notable Players: Rich Nash, Sergei Federov
The Columbus Blue Jackets play in the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Columbus began playing in 2000. The team is part of that year's expansion that included the Minnesota Wild. The Columbus Blue Jackets struggled in their first few seasons, but managed to make a strong start in 2002, only to fall behind later in the year. In 2005, the Columbus Blue Jackets seemed poised to rise up and into the playoffs, but injuries hampered the squad and again they fell behind. This season looks to be the best chance Columbus has had for success. With the leadership of veteran Sergei Federov and the young talent of Rick Nash, Columbus fans really have something to cheer for.
The Columbus Blue Jackets play their home games at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The arena has a capacity of over 18,000 spectators for hokey games. Centered in Columbus' growing entertainment district not far from the Ohio state capitol, seeing a game at Nationwide is a great way to see a young team in a growing city. Buy Columbus Blue Jackets tickets today!
Columbus Blue Jackets Season Preview History