Thursday, February 02, 2006

Columbus Blue Jackets brief history

The Columbus Blue Jackets were named after the many Civil War combatants who hailed from Ohio, which contributed more of its population to the Union Army than any other state.
The city of Columbus was awarded their NHL expansion franchise in June of 1997. It was a risky venture, making inroads into a city that is recognized as one of the most fervent college football bastions in the country.
Nationwide Arena was financed by private investors through Nationwide Insurance, and the stadium was built in downtown Columbus, one of the nicest middle-sized cities in the NHL.
Unlike most expansion teams, the Blue Jackets had their franchise's finest season in its inaugural year. Since then, they've struggled mightily, although not for lack of fan support. The Columbus faithful are loud and heavily partisan, which makes a night out at Nationwide Arena a lot of fun.
inaugural season: 2000-2001
Number of years in the league: Four
Number of times in the playoffs: None
Final appearances: None
Stanley Cups: None
Best season: 2000-2001 (28-39-9-6, 71 points)
Worst season: 2001-2002 (22-47-8-5, 57 points)
Number of coaches: Three
Best coach: Dave King (2000-2002)
Worst coach: Probably Doug MacLean (2002-2003), the general manager, who took over the reins after he fired King in 2002. It's not so much that MacLean was a bad coach, but the Blue Jackets struggled during his reign behind the bench, and I've never liked the notion that the GM can be an effective bench coach.
Best captain: Lyle Odelein (2000-2002)
Worst captain: Ray Whitney (2002-2003)
Best trade: On March 13, 2001, the Blue Jackets traded center Kevyn Adams and a fourth-round draft pick to Florida for Ray Whitney and future considerations. Whitney went on to have two great seasons for Columbus, while Adams has had a mediocre career.
Worst trade: They haven't really made a terrible trade yet.
Best first-round draft pick: Rick Nash (2002)
Worst first round draft pick: Rostislav Klesla (2000)
Loves to play: New York Islanders (5-0-1-0)
Hates to play: Colorado (1-14-1-0)
Ten best players: Ray Whitney, Geoff Sanderson, Andrew Cassels, Marc Denis, Ron Tugnutt, Rick Nash, Espen Knutsen, David Vyborny, Mike Sillinger, Tyler Wright

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