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Why the Blue Jackets will win the Stanley Cup

by Mike G. Morreale

The Columbus Blue Jackets will need to use that us-against-the-world mentality from the opening faceoff of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

At the start of the season, the Blue Jackets were long shots to make the postseason, but the fact they are now among the remaining 16 teams still standing speaks to the character and never-say-quit attitude needed this time of the year.

That is the attitude which will carry Columbus to its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The fact that so few are giving the Blue Jackets a legitimate shot at making a serious postseason run will be a prime motivator, as will the opportunity to catch opponents looking ahead to the next challenge.

The Blue Jackets were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the only Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in franchise history during the first round in 2009, but there's no doubt they are better equipped this time around with seven forwards having scored 15 or more goals, a Vezina Trophy-winning goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky and a respected coach in Todd Richards leading the way.

When John Davidson was hired as president of hockey operations by the organization in October 2012, he vowed to help create a team full of blue-collar workers which would, in due course, earn the respect of every opponent. Well, the Blue Jackets have done that this season under the tutelage of Richards.

Now they need to make believers out of everyone.

"I like our culture. I like the commitment," Davidson told "I like our coaching staff. I don't want to talk about the culture in the past, but I can tell you the guys were tired of losing. It was frustrating and they wanted to do something about it.

"They've created a buzz in Columbus because of the way they've played and that's a good thing. We're a club that plays with intestinal fortitude and dignity; if you just play hard, people appreciate that and we have to keep that going."

In their first season in the Eastern Conference, the Blue Jackets proved they could play against the big boys, taking three of four from the Philadelphia Flyers and two of three against the Red Wings.

Columbus has a good shot at running the table as any other team simply because it has the ingredients necessary for postseason success, goaltending and depth at forward. The Blue Jackets have four more 15-goal scorers than what they had in their only other playoff appearance in 2008-09, when they had seven goals in four playoff games.

Bobrovsky has been great for the Blue Jackets and has the capability of stealing games, something every team needs.

"Bobrovsky has a lot do to with stabilizing our club at home and on the road," Davidson said. "But I also think it's more than just Bob. It's a commitment to play the game the way we can play the game. We've learned to play with discipline as a group and want that commitment from everyone."


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