The Locker Room

CBJ could have done better

Posted by Koby Doughty September 27, 2013
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Love where they are headed, but the CBJ could have done something better.

Look, I’ve been a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets since day one. Prior to their inception, hockey to me was just playing Sega Genesis with the Blackhawks (Roenick was a beast, just ask Trent from Swingers) with the icing and offsides turned off.

There have been some great moments in Nationwide, but not enough. We’ve been teased with the one playoff season and near miss of last season, but other than that we’ve had to endure a number of bad free-agent signings, poor decisions in the draft room, a ton of road games on TV that ended after midnight and Russians that weren’t interested in being here.

That’s all over. As a matter of fact, it’s a do over.

This team is primed to continue the streak they finished last season with. It’s all about the man between the pipes, though – this season will be decided by how he plays. There’s not enough offense here to compensate for average goaltending. For the Jackets to play meaningful games after St. Patrick’s Day, Sergei Bobrovsky has to be the Bob we saw last season.

The front office signed him to a respectable deal (otherwise known as the anti-Steve Mason deal). Then they went out and got Nathan Horton.

And they are now in the East — a huge deal for this team. More games with geographical rivals means better draws at the arena, guaranteed electric atmosphere in many more games and more folks in front of the television sets.

There’s a lot I love about this team this season and what has transpired over the last 12 months.

However, the CBJ missed out on a golden opportunity in the preseason.

I was at the 2-1 loss to Carolina Thursday night and the arena was — as you might expect in the preseason — quite empty. It could have been a far different atmosphere, but it would have taken a little bit of bend on the Jackets part.

This idea was proposed to me by someone else, and it makes perfect sense. Last night’s game should have been free – or nearly free – for youth hockey players. Wear your team jersey and get in free. Hell, all kids under 12 Free.

Adults? Make it a greatly reduced ticket. Shouldn’t pay full price for that game last night.

The Jackets fill the arena with a bunch of people that maybe can’t normally afford to go to a game. They’ll pay to park, they’ll overpay for the food and the arena is full. A full arena for a preseason game? How cool would that have been to send the team into the regular season with that kind of atmosphere?

The Dispatch reported that for a CBJ preseason game in Pittsburgh, the Penguins gave away 15,000 tickets for the game.

And some of those people that had free or reduced tickets might enjoy it so much that they would come back in the regular season.

Makes a lot of sense to me. And to utter those words I hate to say when it comes to the CBJ…

Maybe next year.

- Jeff Thitoff, Host 97.1 The Fan