Commentary: For many reasons, this group was special

Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 10:00 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the regular column of Rob Mixer, writer for BlueJackets.com. You can follow Rob on Twitter (@RobMixer) and follow his work on the CBJ Today blog.

It was the first day of March and I was posted up at one of our Buffalo Wild Wings viewing parties - most likely making short work of some pickle chips - when a friend texted me to let me know these were the "same old Jackets."

Not only did that phrase make my blood boil, I was flabbergasted in reading it and couldn't figure out why my friend would say this. Had he watched the game, a 4-3 overtime loss at the United Center in Chicago when the Blue Jackets' sixth defenseman arrived in an airport cab halfway through the first period? Did he not understand the collective resolve that this club had shown despite a number of one-goal losses?

At the time, none of this mattered and I was a little ticked off. I simply replied: "You're wrong. Just wait."

Over the next few weeks, the image of that text message replayed in my head but it no longer upset me. It made me think and ponder why my friend felt that way about a team that was obviously different than those which came before it. As someone who was born and raised in this wonderful city, I was confident that I was right but I was also *really* hoping that I would eventually be right.

And I wasn't naive enough to gloss over the obvious (a 5-12-2 record and last place in the Western Conference at the time), of course, but I really wanted to figure out if said friend was the only person who had those feelings - and if he wasn't, then why?

Sergei Bobrovsky was one of the big factors in the Jackets' turnaround.

I got my answer on Sunday afternoon after the dust had settled on an exciting-yet-disappointing whirlwind night at Nationwide Arena. Weirdly enough, it didn't come as the result of any deep thinking session or while in the shower (which is where all good ideas are born)...it came while I was grocery shopping.

One of my random meanderings around the local grocery store included a nice man approaching me (I was wearing a Blue Jackets pullover), wanting to chat about the season.

He was wearing a Blue Jackets hat and beaming ear to ear about the season finale, and before we parted ways, he said very enthusiastically: "Those guys had me believing, man. That was fun."

My friend, like the man in the pasta aisle and so many others, wanted a reason to hope -- a reason to believe in the Blue Jackets. They gave him that. They gave this fanbase and this city that.

The best part about experiences like we had this season is watching what they do to people. For example, my father, who travels frequently for business: he's usually the one texting me or emailing me for updates in between meetings or dinners, and doesn't have time to talk much about what's going on with the Jackets.

But over the past few months, he was calling me as soon as he got off an airplane or whenever he got a free minute just to see what the score of the game was.

It's the little moments like that but there are others, like watching thousands of Blue Jackets fans stick around to catch the end of Minnesota-Colorado on the video board after last weekend's finale. A standing-room only crowd serenading Sergei Bobrovsky with chants of "MVP" as he gave an excited fan the jersey off his back, then skating a lap at center ice and applauding the fans who cheered him on all season long.

In every year there are memories and in every memory there are moments, and each represented an opportunity for the loyal, passionate, and deserving fans of this team to sit back and smile.

But the best part is knowing that these memories are just the beginning of a memorable ride.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Dubinsky 4 1 5 1 6
J. Johnson 4 3 2 1 5
R. Johansen 4 2 3 0 5
B. Jenner 4 2 2 -2 4
M. Calvert 4 2 1 3 3
D. Savard 4 0 3 2 3
M. Letestu 4 1 1 -1 2
C. Atkinson 4 1 1 2 2
J. Wisniewski 4 0 2 -4 2
A. Anisimov 4 0 2 -1 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 2 2 0 .900 3.22
 
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