COLUMBUS, Ohio - For most NHL teams, getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs is hardly a watershed moment.
The Columbus Blue Jackets ? a doormat for so long ? feel as if it's a turning point, a tentative step to transforming the once sorry club.
In a season of firsts ? most wins, most goals, first post-season wins ? the Blue Jackets are left to deal with their last game, a crazy comeback from a 4-0 deficit falling just short in Game 6 against the favoured Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.
Now one of the youngest teams in the league has established an identity as a hard-working bunch with blossoming talent.
The Blue Jackets, their playoff beards shaved, believe the future is bright.