Skip to content

After first playoff win, the bar’s been raised in Columbus

Aug 26, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

Ryan Johansen, James Wisniewski AP

It was a long and often painful journey, but Columbus has finally joined the 28 other teams that have won a playoff game (leaving the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets’ franchise in the cold). That accomplishment shouldn’t be belittled given how far the Blue Jackets had to come over the last couple of seasons to reach this point, but it’s also not cause for contentment.

Making the playoffs is great, but players don’t grow up dreaming about winning a first round game and fans don’t long for the day their team will last six contests before bowing out of the postseason.

“The goal isn’t just to make the playoffs here,” Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson asserted, per the team’s website. “Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. There were good intentions here in the past, but we go into every game now with the expectation to win. We expect to play well, and we expect to achieve success.”

Blue Jackets president John Davidson was equally optimistic during an interview in July. He pointed to Nathan Horton as a potential difference maker after the former Boston Bruins playoff hero was forced to miss most of the 2013-14 campaign and all of the postseason because of shoulder and abdominal problems.

More importantly, Columbus has a promising young core that’s led by forward Ryan Johansen and blueliner Ryan Murray. They also have a solid defense and a strong goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky.

Their offense was nothing special last season, but if Horton and their primary new addition, Scott Hartnell, have solid seasons and 21-year-old Boone Jenner is able to step up in his sophomore campaign, then that might change.

Clearly the Blue Jackets still have some significant question marks and on paper they don’t look like a Stanley Cup contender yet, but the bar has been raised. We’ll find out soon enough how they respond.

Latest Posts
  1. Rangers lose Zuccarello indefinitely with suspected concussion

    Apr 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five Getty Images

    Diminutive forward left Game 5 after taking a shot to the helmet.

  2. NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

    Apr 27, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT

    Germany v United States - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Getty Images

    Tournament begins May 1 in the Czech Republic.

  3. Cooper: Lightning have to ‘suck it up’ and ‘fight through’ Wings’ interference

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three Getty Images

    Interference aside, Tampa Bay has had no shortage of power-play time.

  4. Your Caps-Islanders Game 7 officials are…

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

    Referees Dan O’Rourke (No. 9) and Dan O’Halloran (No. 13), linesmen Greg Devorski (No. 54) and Michel Cormier (No. 76).

  5. Friedman: Penguins need to ‘think about’ trading Malkin

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Pittsburgh has a lot of cap space tied up in two players.

  6. After sitting three straight, Glencross to play for Caps tonight

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Washington Capitals v New York Islanders - Game Three Getty Images

    Washington makes a lineup change in advance of Game 7 versus the Isles.

  7. Letang (concussion) will be ready for Pens’ training camp

    Apr 27, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT

    Kris Letang Getty Images

    “I’m on my way to coming back. I’m just going through the protocol.”

  8. Sens’ MacArthur, Methot battled hip injuries in series vs. Habs

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    Marc Methot Getty Images

    Injury information trickling in following Ottawa’s Game 6 loss.

  9. Penguins assign prospect Sundqvist to AHL

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits 2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

    He was one of Pittsburgh’s final cuts in the fall.

  10. Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight

    Apr 27, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

    John Tavares, Braden Holtby John Tavares, Braden Holtby

    The Islanders and Capitals meet in Game 7 for the first time since 1987.

  11. Bettman projects 2015-16 cap will be $71.5 million

    Apr 26, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith AP

    That’s a fairly modest increase compared to some of the jumps we’ve seen in the past.

  12. Price makes 43 saves as Senators’ magical run ends in controversy

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    Montreal will now play either Detroit or Tampa Bay.

  13. Shattenkirk expects changes, but he supports Hitchcock

    Apr 26, 2015, 8:17 PM EDT

    Ken Hitchcock Getty Images

    Oshie thinks the core has “been playing some pretty good games since the playoffs.”

Featured video

Plenty of pressure on Blues
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2560)
  2. A. Burrows (2317)
  3. S. Weber (2083)
  4. M. Giordano (1862)
  5. K. Letang (1802)
  1. D. Carcillo (1714)
  2. C. Ehrhoff (1612)
  3. L. Bouma (1605)
  4. T. Hamonic (1566)
  5. C. Price (1519)