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ABC's of the 2008-09 Blue Jackets Season

by David DiCenzo / Columbus Blue Jackets

A – is for assists, as in 39 of them, which marks a career high in that department for CBJ star Rick Nash.

B – is for blocked shots, which the Blue Jackets had a lot of, especially Mike Commodore who led the team with 162, good enough for 14th in the whole NHL.

C – is for captain, Rick Nash, who carried this team to the postseason in his first year wearing the "C."

D – is for defensemen scoring, which the Jackets got a lot more of this season, something head coach Ken Hitchcock stressed would be important in 2008-09.

E – is for excitement as the Blue Jackets prepare for their first playoff game ever.

F – is for fans, who stuck with the club through the first eight seasons of missing the playoffs but are about to be rewarded for their patience.

G – is for goaltending, which did a 180-degree turn during the season with the emergence of Steve Mason, a leading candidate for the Calder Trophy after posting an NHL-best 10 shutouts…and maybe even the Vezina.

H – is for heavy, which has become the perfect, oft-used description of how the big and bruising Jackets play along the boards.

I – is for Injured Reserve, which has been a problem for veteran forwards Jason Chimera and Fredrik Modin but the good news is that both could be ready to go against the Red Wings.

J – is for "Juice," Kristian Huselius, the second leading scorer on the team with 21-35-56, many of those points having come in slick fashion.

K – is for Ken, as in Hitchcock, who in his second full season with the team, has brought his players to a new level.

L – is for LaCosta the rookie goaltender from Syracuse who came in and won two huge games for the Jackets, which given the tight Western Conference race, were critical.

M – is for Mr. McConnell, who should have been here for this but you have to believe is watching with joy.

N – is for Nash, who had a career year with 40-39-79.

O – is for opportunity and Columbus has a great one in its first-round match-up, facing a team they have administered significant punishment to.

P – is for playoffs, as in the first time the Jackets will be in the postseason in the franchise history.

Q – is for quiet, which is what the Jackets will be hoping for every game in Joe Louis Arena if they execute their game plan well.

R – is for Raffi, one of the more clutch performers for the CBJ down the stretch, who piled up game winning goals like it was his job.

S – is for Stanley Cup, hockey’s Holy Grail and the main goal for any team that makes the playoffs, including the Blue Jackets.

T – is for Tyutin, a silky smooth D-man and class act, who has helped stabilize the Columbus back end.

U – is for Umberger, who scored a ton of goals for the CBJ and is clearly a solid top 6 forward in the Hitchcock system, not to mention an established playoff performer….oh, and former Buckeye.

V – is for Vermette, who gave the Jackets a jolt after the trade deadline and was instrumental in fuelling a crucial run of four straight wins over the NHL’s elite.

W – is for wins, as in a record number of W’s in 2008/09…41 and counting.

X – is for X factor, and if you had to pick one in the series with Detroit, Mason seems like a good suggestion.

Y – is for youth, as Mason, Jake Voracek, Derick Brassard, Kris Russell, Jared Boll, Derek Dorsett and Nikita Filatov have made the future look awfully bright in Columbus.

Z – is for zoo, as in what Nationwide Arena and the surrounding Arena District will look like when it comes time for the Jackets' playoff home opener next week.

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