Blue Jackets Extend Their Streak, End the Wild's
Well, at least they've got something to cheer about in Columbus.
Maybe the Buckeyes got skunked in the CFP semi-finals, but the Blue Jackets cleared a major hurdle.
Incidentally, fans in central Ohio are noticing.
Nationwide Arena is sold out these days ... by Jackets fans instead of marquée visitors.
Rabid hockey fans are nothing new in Minnesota.
As a matter of fact, they're the ultimate measure of how lousy an owner Norman Green was. It takes an extraordinary dose of incompetence and greed to alienate that crowd, but Green did it and wound up moving the North Stars to Dallas.
Prior to Green, the North Stars left quite an impression on the locals. And their opponents.
When the Wild came into existence, all parties went out of their way to ensure that everything was done right. After recovering from a post-lockout anger hanoger, it was, and the energy is back.
So, it didn't take extra effort to turn the Blue Jackets' visit into a ticket-buying frenzy. With the locals holding a 12-game winning streak and Columbus' string reaching 14, the stage was set for a playoff-level battle. The players didn't disappoint:
The Jackets move on.
Edmonton comes to Columbus on Tue 3 Jan damn near even with the hosts in key team stats:
Minnesota visits Columbus on Thu 2 Mar, about a month away from the Stanley Cup chase.
Who knows what their seasons' second half will have in store for them, but from their vantage points now, if they meet after that, it'll be for the ultimate hardware:
There's a ton of pressure on Columbus from below. Which John Tortorella will be guiding them through it?
- Dude's coached the Lightning to a Cup,
- He's become the NHL's winningest American coach during the streak, but
- He's the hard-headed national team coach who totally misread international play.
The Central's an 82-game street fight that extends into spring.
Imagine. Minnesota's been hot as magma, and the Chicago Blackhawks are still in first place. Barring an injury outbreak or a total collapse, the Wild will be in the hunt.
But it will be a hunt.