Columbus, OH -
By Rick Gethin
“Both of those guys (Mason and Garon) got us back into the race. Both of those guys are going to be a part of the last 17 games and a big part of the reason why we’re going to get into the playoffs.”
Now imagine, if you will, changing “we’re going to get into the playoffs” to “If we get into the playoffs”. Amazing how the whole tone of that statement changes, eh? It’s all about perception.
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel has learned that there’s no way but the hard way for this club. He knows what he has in each player and can see that they’re “getting it”. While there are many, many fair-weather fans that have already abandoned the club and are looking forward to summer, don’t lump Arniel or the players in with that group. They believe the can do it. They know it won’t be easy and a few things have to fall their way.
I’ve heard, ad nauseum, that this club has made the playoffs only once in ten years. Here’s an eye-opener for you. The Florida Panthers last appearance in the post-season was the 1999-2000 season. Just to refresh your memory, that was before the Blue Jackets were even in existence. Columbus made the playoffs two seasons ago, 2008-2009. There are seven (7) other teams, not including the Panthers, that have gone longer since making the playoffs.
But Rick, you say, they were swept in their only playoff appearance. To that I reply, there are two other teams that have never won a playoff series to advance out of the first round; Atlanta and Nashville. And the longest drought for not winning a first round playoff series? That dubious record belongs to the Phoenix Coyotes, dating back to when they were still he Winnipeg Jets. That was the 1986-1987 season, a span of 22 seasons which is more than double the amount of time that Columbus has been a part of the NHL. Remember, it’s all about perception.
And, just for laughs, let’s look at how many teams have NEVER been to the Stanley Cup Finals or won the Stanley Cup. There are six (6) teams that have never been to the SC Finals, the longest of which is 30 seasons. The team? You guessed it, the Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets, once again, their entire existence.
Put this feather in your cap. There have been 13 clubs, including Columbus, that have never won the Cup. While you might feel all bad inside about your beloved Blue Jackets, imagine how the Los Angeles Kings fans must feel. They’ve gone 42 seasons, their entire existence in the NHL, without winning the Cup.
Which brings us back around, via a long, circuitous route, to the title of this piece. It’s all about perception. In my world, the glass is always half-full. To many of the people I’ve met in Central Ohio, it always seems to be half-empty. All I ask is this; why?
Why be so fixated on the negatives? Why are you seemingly unable to just enjoy the sport of hockey for what it is, a game? While there are many of you who think that I’m unrealistic and crazy, I have but one thing to say to you. It makes life a hell of a lot more enjoyable when you take off your rose-colored shades.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.