For those of you who have never read my blog posts before (and let's face it, not many people have...I don't write them very often and I certainly don't promote them), let me start with a brief background. I am a long suffering hockey fan. I became a Hartford Whalers fan in the mid 80's while growing up in Connecticut. While attending college in Ohio, the Whalers became the Hurricanes. Soon after establishing my permanent residence in Ohio, I shifted my allegiance to the hometown Blue Jackets. One could say that my favorite NHL team has sucked for 25 years.
So whenever I decide to write, readers have to understand that I have a chip on my shoulder. Blue Jackets fans complain about suffering for 12 years. I've been suffering a lot longer than that. It's astonishing really. Disregarding a few blips on the good team radar (like the one year the Jackets made the playoffs), I am 36 years old and have never been able to proudly call my favorite NHL team a winner.
Which brings me to the Blue Jackets.
I complain a lot about them. My wife puts up with a lot of it. Sure, it's just a game. But it's a game I love and one for which I have been desperate for a winner to root for. Not only does the losing bother me, but the stupid comments from other fans around the league like this one from Twitter:
"How many Blue Jackets fans does it take to change a light bulb? Both of them."
Attack the team, fine. They deserve it. But I hate reading jokes and comments like that directed towards the fans. What they don't seem to understand is that there are PLENTY of die-hard, hard-core, heart and soul Blue Jackets fans out there. And there will be PLENTY more once the team starts winning games.
But why can't they win consistently? Well, that's been addressed so many times in so many articles and so many blogs. I don't want to delve into it here. What I want to mention is what seems to be the bad luck cloud that seems to hang over the Jackets. They can't seem to catch a break when it comes to stand-out talent. This point struck a chord with me as I watched and read about a few players this year.
Tarasenko for St. Louis. Where the heck did he come from? It's players like this who seem to come out of nowhere for other teams, but not for us. Tarasenko is tearing it up for the Blues this year. Why couldn't Johansen step in for the Jackets and tear it up last year?
Brunner for Detroit. While he is not exactly "tearing it up," so to speak, the one time I saw him play he seemed to have that intangible, unexplainable "it" thing.
What about Landeskog for Colorado? He's already a captain and has been putting up good numbers. There are many, many others but I think my point has been made so I'll stop there.
With the Jackets, no player since Nash has really seemed to come on board and immediately made an impact offensively. One could argue Zherdev, but he's gone now and for all intents and purposes I would call him a bust. Brule was supposed to step in and tear it up. He didn't. Voracek was supposed to step in and tear it up. He didn't. Brassard was once touted as one of our next big superstars. Doesn't seem like that is going to happen.
This year, with Nash gone, the Jackets no longer have their star offensive performer. So who is going to step up and become that guy in the next few years? Atkinson? JAM? Johansen? I don't have the answer. But I do know that it is so frustrating seeing other teams hit home runs with their players and the Jackets keep striking out. You can blame our drafts if you want, but it seems like at some point the law of averages says SOMETHING has to work out, regardless of who we take.
It just seems like the Jackets are long, long overdue for someone to step up, surprise us, and be a new offensive threat on the team.