When the NHL came by way of Columbus in 1997, and the Columbus Blue Jackets officially opened up on the ice in 2000 for their inaugural season, I was beyond ecstatic.
In that first season, I was just 12-years-old. I made my way to my first game that December against the Carolina Hurricanes and much more after that. Even after moving back to Virginia in 2004, I catch them on the road at what is now Capital One Arena, or those Metro rivals, the Washington Capitals whenever I can.
Going back to 2009, the two teams inexplicably alternate wins and losses every time I'm there. Maybe if I was able to go to that game last January when the 16-game winning streak was snapped, they would have won. But probably not since I was at the game before that, which they won in November.
Anyway enough about my tidbit history.
My name is William Chase and I am really excited to be joining SB Nation and The Cannon. The Jackets are embarking on what should be a continued step in the right direction after their first 50-win, 100-plus point season. With that said, we've been excited before about promising potential in the past and things tended to go backward rather than forward.
But this year should be different.
The Jack Adams, Coach of the Year, winner John Tortorella got his players to buy in last year and together, they turned a lot of heads along the way. What was supposed to be a season of more toiling near the bottom, was instead a very exciting team that transitioned into a first place contender much of the season.
As we head into 2017-18, now is the time for reigning-Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky to replicate that regular season success. Gone is Brandon Saad but in his place, the Breadman, Artemi Panarin. Cam Atkinson looks to build on his breakout season. The core of the defense features exciting cornerstone talent with Seth Jones continuing to evolve and Zach Werenski turning in a Calder-finalist season in 2016-17.
The potential is surely there, but beyond that, the excitement is compounded by a taste of winning.
With all of this, it's an exciting time for the Blue Jackets. In what is arguably the strongest division in the sport, they'll have their hands full with the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, and a host of other contenders.
I promise this is a good thing. To be the best you have to beat the best.
I'm excited to be along for the ride, and I can't wait to interact with all of you throughout the upcoming season. With everything we know about the Blue Jackets today and will continue to find out as preseason is just days away, now is the time for the team to continue their march forward.
Things didn't go well in the playoffs. Learn from it, feed off it. It's a brand new season.