The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.

10.01.2006

NHL Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

Technical issues once again abound here at Opossum-Palooza headquarters. Needless to say, I am way behind on the NHL previews, but I'm going to keep on trying. Today, let's take a look at the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Back when I started this whole venture, it was teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets that caused me the most trepidation. What do you write about a team when the most significant piece of information is the (minor) controversy and confusion caused by the naming of the team? The term "Blue Jacket" is a reference to the uniforms worn by Union soldiers during the Civil War. The state of Ohio supplied more soldiers to the Union than any other state. Hence, the name of Colombus' expansion team in 2000. Apparently, no one told the people in charge of the logo, as evidenced by the debauched eyesore you see above. The result was me constantly cowering in fear of a new breed of hornet that had changed colors so as to better camouflage itself against my jeans and sting me when I least expect it. Thankfully, the rediculous insect was scrapped quickly and replaced with a rather classy logo, but the damage had been done.

The Blue Jackets have a few other claims to fame, but none of them are particularly positive. Those nets that obstruct your view at the ends of the ice are the result of Columbus forward Espen Knutsen's deflected slapshot that ended up in the stands, striking a 13-year old girl who would later die as a result of her her head injury. On a lighter note, the franchise is also notable for employing goaltender Ron Tugnutt during their inaugural season. Tugnutt remains easily the most entertainingly named hockey player of all time.

They had a chance last year to finally break into the ranks of teams that are not a running joke, with young phenom Rick Nash and All-Star caliber defenseman Adam Foote, but injuries derailed their season and they missed the playoffs for the fifth time in as many tries.

Injuries are once again an issue for the Blue Jackets so far this year as well. Sergei Federov was aquired in the middle of the 2005-06 season but will miss up to six weeks of the beginning of the season. In spite of that, a healthy Rick Nash as well as a potential breakout year from goaltender Pascal Leclaire could easily equal the franchise's first playoff appearance.

For all your Columbus Blue Jackets blogging, mosey on over to Jackets Required. If nothing else, the name is clever.

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