The story goes that when Columbus decided that they wanted to name the team the Blue Jackets they had to get permission from St. Louis because the names would be so similar. If you'd been the guy receiving that call, don't you think you would have said something along the lines of, "Are you sure you're going with Blue Jackets? I mean, it's a coat, right? You know there are like a million better ways to honor your Civil War heritage, right? Right?"
And what if the Blues had said no? The name is too similar and we're in the same division and we just would rather not add any confusion. Sorry, but no. Then what? What would they have come up with back in the Nickname War Room?
Either way, the Blue Jackets they are and the Blue Jackets they shall remain. Also, they shall remain terrible. They are missing the playoffs this year for the eighth time in nine seasons. In those nine painful years they have never finished higher than third in the division and in the one season they did make the playoffs, they were swept by their hated rivals the Red Wings.
You would think that with all that failure that they'd have had success at the entry draft with many high picks. Not so fast, fella. Of their nine first round picks, eight of which were in the top eight of the draft, only Rick Nash has become a bonafide NHL star. Of the rest, two are now playing in the Russian KHL (Nikita Filatov, 6th in 2008; Nikolai Zherdev, 4th in 2003), three are toiling away in non-star roles for other teams (Gilbert Brule, 6th in 2005:EDM; Alexandre Picard, 8th in 2004: PHX; Pascal Leclaire, 8th in 2001: OTT), one has never played to potential (Rostislav Klesla, 4th in 2000) and one, the only one not drafted in the top-10, is still in the USHL (John Moore).
Not exactly the building blocks of a powerhouse earned through a decade of suffering a la Pittsburgh, is it? The bottom line for the hapless Jackets and their fans is that it's going to still be a long time until they've built a winning franchise.
Unfortunately for the Blues, the Jackets always play them tough and the opportunity to end the Blues' season has to be a motivating factor for Rick Nash and his cohorts. Expect them to come out hard and try to deflate a building that will already have a less-than-capacity crowd (Columbus never draws well, Monday never draws well, the MLB opening day always dings attendance and the Blues dwindling playoff chances hurts attendance. Oh and apparently there's some big college basketball game on tonight too) and to get at least something positive out of their last few games.
For the Note, the game plan is simple: Neutralize Nash as best as possible and crash the net and get traffic in front of their shaky goaltender. that's it. Two steps. The Jackets can beat you, but their chances are severly diminished if Nash isn't a factor and their goaltending is given no respect.
No TV tonight, so you're gonna have to go old school and tune into the radio if you're not going to the rink. Don't be a sellout; skip the basketball game and join us here, won't you? This is your GDT. Let's get nuts.