- Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus Blue Jackets 2011–12 Columbus Blue Jackets season Conference Western Division Central Founded 2000 History Columbus Blue Jackets
Home arena Nationwide Arena City Columbus, Ohio Colors Union blue, goal red, capital silver, white
Media Fox Sports Ohio
CD101 (102.5 FM)
ESPN Columbus (1460 AM)
The Fan (97.1 FM)
Columbus Blue Jackets Radio Network
Owner(s) John P. McConnell General manager Scott Howson Head coach Scott Arniel Captain Rick Nash Minor league affiliates Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Chicago Express (ECHL)
Stanley Cups 0 Conference championships 0 Presidents' Trophies 0 Division championships 0
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a professional ice hockey team based in Columbus, Ohio, United States. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). They are the easternmost team located in the Western Conference, being only a three and a half hour drive along Interstate 70 from the nearest Eastern Conference team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Preceded in Ohio's capital by the Columbus Chill of the ECHL and the state of Ohio in general by the Cleveland Barons, the Blue Jackets were founded as an expansion team in 2000. The team qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 2009. They had previously been the only active NHL team never to qualify.
The Blue Jackets' name and logos were inspired by Ohio's Civil War history. Rick Nash, David Vyborny, Ray Whitney, Chris Clark, Fredrik Modin, Steve Mason, Geoff Sanderson, R. J. Umberger and Sergei Fedorov are some of the prominent NHL figures to have donned a Columbus jersey. In February 2010 Ken Hitchcock was fired as head coach; Scott Arniel was hired as the new head coach on June 7, 2010. Current general manager Scott Howson started in 2007. The Blue Jackets play their home games in downtown Columbus at Nationwide Arena, which opened in 2000. In 2011, they will affiliate with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL and the Chicago Express of the ECHL.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Team information
- 3 Season-by-season record
- 4 Players
- 5 NHL awards and trophies
- 6 Single-season records
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
1997–2000: Building a new franchise
After the Cleveland Barons left in 1978, Ohio's hockey fans had to wait 22 years to host another NHL team. Columbus entered an expansion bid in 1997, along with several other cities. The voters of Columbus were considering a referendum to build a publicly financed arena, a major step toward approval of their NHL bid. When League Commissioner Gary Bettman visited Columbus to meet with the community's leaders about the franchise proposal, there was concern that the voters might not pass the needed referendum. The civic leaders told Bettman that they would not be willing to foot the bill for the team if the referendum failed. However, just after the meeting adjourned, John H. McConnell (one of those who entered the bid) privately guaranteed Bettman that an arena would be built, referendum or not.
Columbus' hopes for the bid dimmed when the May referendum failed. However, Nationwide announced on May 31, 1997, that it would finance the $150-million arena. Subsequently, on June 25, 1997, the NHL announced that Columbus would receive a new franchise.
On June 23, 2000, the NHL's two newest teams, the Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild, took part in the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft in Calgary, Alberta. Under the draft's rules, 26 of the NHL's active 28 teams were allowed to protect one goaltender, five defensemen, and nine forwards, or two goaltenders, three defensemen, and seven forwards. The Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators both had their full rosters protected because they were the two newest teams, only being in existence for one and two years, respectively. Both the Blue Jackets and Wild had to use their first 24 selections on three goaltenders, eight defensemen, and thirteen forwards. Their final two picks could be players of any position.
With the first-overall choice, the Blue Jackets selected goaltender Rick Tabaracci from the Colorado Avalanche. Over the course of the draft, Columbus picked up goalie Dwayne Roloson, defensemen Lyle Odelein and Mathieu Schneider, and forwards Geoff Sanderson, Turner Stevenson, and Dallas Drake, among others. Instead of joining Columbus, Roloson signed with the American Hockey League's Worcester IceCats, Schneider left for the Los Angeles Kings, and the St. Louis Blues signed Drake. Columbus also traded Stevenson to the New Jersey Devils to complete an earlier transaction.
The Blue Jackets and Wild were granted concessions by some franchises who could not protect their full rosters. The San Jose Sharks traded Jan Caloun, a ninth-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, and a 2001 conditional pick to Columbus; in return, the Blue Jackets agreed not to select the Sharks' unprotected goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. On June 24, at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Columbus selected Rostislav Klesla fourth overall.
2000–05: Early years
The Blue Jackets played their first regular-season game on October 7, 2000, a 5–3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Bruce Gardiner scored the franchise's first goal. Columbus finished with a 28–39–9–6 record for 71 points, last in the Central Division, and failed to qualify for the playoffs. Geoff Sanderson became the first player in team history to score 30 goals. Ron Tugnutt, who was signed in the summer of 2000, supplied solid goaltending with 22 wins, which tied the 74-year-old League record for wins by an expansion-team goalie (New York Rangers' Lorne Chabot also had 22 wins in 1926–27).
The Blue Jackets finished next-to-last in the NHL in the following season, with only 57 points. Ray Whitney, acquired from the Florida Panthers the previous season, led the team in scoring with 61 points, setting a franchise record. Tragedy struck the Blue Jackets organization in March 2002 when 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil was killed after a deflected puck shot by Espen Knutsen struck her in the head while she was in the stands at Nationwide Arena. As a result of her death, large nylon mesh nets were installed behind the goals in all NHL arenas to shield spectators from pucks going over the glass. The team also wore small red hearts with the initials "BNC" on their helmets.
During the offseason, the Blue Jackets traded a second-round pick (32nd overall) and Tugnutt to the Dallas Stars. In return, Columbus received Dallas's first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2002 draft. On the morning of the draft, Columbus traded the third-overall pick and the option to flip draft spots in 2003 to the Florida Panthers; in return Columbus received the first-overall pick, which they used to select Rick Nash.
The 2002–03 season started with Columbus putting up a 7–5–1–1 record after the first 14 games. However, as expectations from their fans grew higher, the team came back to mediocrity, finishing last in the Central Division for the third consecutive season and missing the playoffs once again. Dave King, who had been the team's head coach since their debut in 2000, was fired midseason and replaced by general manager Doug MacLean. Marc Denis was named starting goalie; he played a franchise-record 77 games that season and set a League record with 4,511 minutes played in 2002–03. He tied for second all-time for games played in a season by a goaltender, just two shy of the League record held by St. Louis Blues' Grant Fuhr in the 1995–96 season.
The 2003–04 season was another losing season for the Blue Jackets despite key additions in the offseason. Checking center Todd Marchant was signed to a five-year contract in July from the Edmonton Oilers. Defenseman Darryl Sydor, known to play strong offense as well, was acquired from the Dallas Stars for Mike Sillinger and a draft pick. MacLean stepped aside as head coach midway through the season, giving way to Gerard Gallant. The Blue Jackets finished with just 62 points (the second-lowest total in their short history), but it was enough to help them break out of last place in the Central Division for the first time, finishing ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks. Nash was one of the few bright spots for the team; his 41 goals tied Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk for the Rocket Richard Trophy (as League leader in goals scored).
In the 2004 offseason, the League's Players' Association and the League's administration failed to renew their collective bargaining agreement. September 14, 2004 marked the beginning of the lockout of the 2004–05 season. No games were played and the Stanley Cup was not awarded for the first time since the flu epidemic of 1919. An agreement was made on July 13, 2005 and the lockout officially ended nine days later on July 22, 2005.
2005 and beyond: Post-lockout
In the summer of 2005, rugged Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote agreed to a 3-year deal with the team. Heading into the 2005–06 season, it appeared the Blue Jackets would finally take the next step and make the playoffs. Instead, injuries to Nash, Klesla, and Gilbert Brule, the team's 2005 first-round pick, led to the team putting up a dismal 9–25–1 record through its first 35 games. Superstar Sergei Fedorov was acquired from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks; Anaheim received Tyler Wright and Francois Beauchemin, and later claimed Todd Marchant off waivers. While again failing to make the playoffs, Columbus did manage to improve. They had the best overtime record in the NHL (14–4) and finished the season with franchise records for wins (35) and points (74). For the first time ever, they earned a third-place finish in the Central Division, behind Detroit and Nashville.
The 2006–07 season saw several changes made to the team. In the offseason, Marc Denis was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Fredrik Modin and goaltending prospect Fredrik Norrena, making way for Pascal Leclaire to take the starting job. The Blue Jackets also signed Anson Carter when it looked as if Nikolai Zherdev would be playing the season in Russia; in late September, however, Zherdev and General Manager Doug MacLean were able to reach a compromise. Partway through the season, on November 13, 2006, Gerard Gallant was relieved of his duties as head coach. The next day, Gary Agnew was named his interim replacement. On November 22, Ken Hitchcock, former coach of the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers, was named the new head coach, effective the following day. Under Hitchcock's first year, two milestones were set: on December 10, 2006, the Blue Jackets scored a team-record five power-play goals in a 6–2 win over the Ottawa Senators, and on April 3, 2007, the Blue Jackets broke the modern-day record for most times being shut-out in a season (16) with a 3–0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
On April 18, 2007, Doug MacLean, the team's first general manager and president, was fired after nine years and six seasons at the helm without a playoff berth. Mike Priest, President of Blue Jackets parent company JMAC, Inc., was named President of the club, while Assistant General Manager Jim Clark served as General Manager until the Blue Jackets named Edmonton Oilers Assistant General Manager Scott Howson as the new general manager on June 15, 2007. They set the modern day record of being shut out in a single NHL season, not being able to score a goal on sixteen different occasions.
The 2007–08 season, the club's first full season under Hitchcock, started off well as the Jackets got off to their best start in franchise history, starting with a 4–0 shutout of the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. At the trade deadline on February 26, 2008, however, apparently unable to agree on a new contract and amid some controversy, Blue Jackets captain Adam Foote requested a trade to the Colorado Avalanche, which was granted. The Blue Jackets received a pair of conditional picks in return. A few weeks later, on March 12, 2008, former Blue Jackets number-one draft pick Rick Nash was named the new team captain. Despite this, Columbus managed its best season record to date, staying above a .500 game wins average until the very last game of the season and finishing fourth in the Central Division with 80 points. After the season, Nash was announced as the cover player for the NHL 2K9 video game by Take-Two Interactive.
At the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Blue Jackets selected Nikita Filatov with the sixth overall pick. They also traded away the 19th overall pick (acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Adam Foote) for R.J. Umberger.
The Blue Jackets made many trades in the 2008 off season. Gilbert Brule was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Raffi Torres. Enigmatic forward Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche were traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman. The Blue Jackets also signed free agents Kristian Huselius and Mike Commodore to multi-year contracts.
On July 9, 2008, the Blue Jackets announced they signed Hitchcock to a three-year extension to remain as head coach.
During the 2008–09 NHL season, the Blue Jackets made two trades which greatly played to their benefit. Forward Jason Williams was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Clay Wilson and a sixth-round draft pick. The Blue Jackets were also involved with the first major deal of the 2009 NHL Trade Deadline, by trading goaltender Pascal Leclaire and a second-round draft pick to the Ottawa Senators for skilled center Antoine Vermette. The changes in scenery benefited both players and the Jackets; Williams scored 28 points in his first 36 games as a Jacket, while Vermette scored 11 points in his first 14 games with the team.
On April 8, 2009, the Columbus Blue Jackets secured the first Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the franchise's eight-year history with a 4-3 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks. before being swept by the Red Wings in the first round.
With 21 games remaining and sitting 4 points out of 8th in the Western Conference, the Blue Jackets dealt long time defenseman Rostislav Klesla and Dane Byers to the Phoenix Coyotes for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepistö at the trade deadline (February 28, 2011).
The name "Blue Jackets" was chosen to celebrate "patriotism, pride, and the rich Civil War history in the state of Ohio and city of Columbus." When President Abraham Lincoln requested that Ohio raise ten regiments at the outbreak of the Civil War, the state responded by raising a total of 23 volunteer infantry regiments for three months of service. Ohio also produced a number of great Civil War figures, including William Tecumseh Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan, and George Custer. Columbus itself was host to large military bases, Camp Chase and Camp Thomas, which saw hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers and thousands of Confederate prisoners during the Civil War. There was also a Shawnee leader named Blue Jacket in the Ohio Country after the American Revolutionary War.
The team logo is a stylized version of the flag of Ohio, which is a pennant. Previously used as an alternate logo, it became the primary logo as part of a Reebok-sponsored redesign for the 2007–08 season. The team's jerseys feature an alternate logo, a Civil War cap with crossed hockey sticks, on the shoulders.
The Blue Jackets unveiled a new third jersey in the 2010-2011 season, using a vintage hockey sweater design. In spirit of its Civil War theme, it sports a union blue base with white stripes on the sleeves and on the shoulder padding. The crest features the team's Civil War-era cannon. It honors the team's founder, John H McConnell, with his initials on the neckline, as well as its slogan "We fight, we march!" on the inside of the collar.
- the Jackets take the ice at the start of the game
- the Jackets score a goal
- the Jackets win the game
It was fired 164 times in its inaugural season (41 home games, 20 home victories, 103 goals scored at home). The title line of "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" by AC/DC is played when the cannon is fired.
On radio stations WBNS-FM (flagship), WBNS and WWCD, and 26 other affiliates in Ohio, George Matthews provides play-by-play coverage, with analysis provided by former Syracuse Crunch radio broadcaster Bob McElligott. Matthews has been calling Blue Jackets games since the team's inception in 2000, while Rimer started calling games on television in 2005.
Fox Sports Ohio, which broadcasts 75 games per season, airs pre-game and post-game shows ("Blue Jackets Live") for each game. Home pre-game shows are hosted by Jeff Hogan and Bill Davidge, with the post-game shows hosted by former Lake Erie Monsters play-by-play broadcaster John Michael; road pre- and post-game shows are hosted by Ray Crawford. In-game reporting is provided by Michael. The host of the radio pre- and post-game shows is Mark Wyant. Fans can interact by e-mail and phone with the radio personalities during and after the game.
Mascot and logo
Stinger is the official Mascot of the Blue Jackets. Stinger is a 6 foot 9 inch bright green bug that walks amongst the crowd during the games and skates on the ice between periods while wearing a Blue Jackets' jersey. The image of Stinger was on the original Blue Jackets' jerseys. The Blue Jackets have since distanced themselves from Stinger, removing him entirely from the jerseys beginning in the 2005 season. The current logo of the Blue Jackets consists of the state of Ohio flag swirled around a star which is portrayed prominently on the Blue Jackets jersey. Another noteworthy symbol that has nothing to do with the team or mascot or logo of the Blue Jackets is the IGS Energy blimp that flies in the air above the crowds in Nationwide Arena between periods.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Records as of April 10, 2011
Season GP W L OTL PTS GF GA Finish Playoffs 2006–07 82 33 42 7 73 201 249 4th, Central Did not qualify 2007–08 82 34 36 12 80 193 218 4th, Central Did not qualify 2008–09 82 41 31 10 92 226 230 4th, Central Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Red Wings) 2009–10 82 32 35 15 79 216 259 5th, Central Did not qualify 2010–11 82 34 35 13 81 215 258 5th, Central Did not qualify
The Blue Jackets have the worst points percentage of all the active teams in the NHL over their first nine seasons with a points% of 0.439.
Updated November 10, 2011.
- Lyle Odelein, 2000–02
- Ray Whitney, 2002–03
- Luke Richardson, 2003–05
- Adam Foote, 2005–08
- Rick Nash, 2008–present
1st Round Draft Picks
Year Pick Player Position Country Previous team (League) Notes 2000 4 Rostislav Klesla Defense Czech Republic Brampton Battalion (OHL) 2001 8 Pascal Leclaire Goaltender Canada Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) 2002 1* Rick Nash Left wing Canada London Knights (OHL) [a] 2003 4 Nikolai Zherdev Right wing Russia CSKA Moscow (RSL) 2004 8 Alexandre Picard Left wing Canada Lewiston Maineiacs (QMJHL) [b] 2005 6 Gilbert Brulé Center Canada Vancouver Giants (WHL) 2006 6 Derick Brassard Center Canada Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) 2007 7 Jakub Voráček Right wing Czech Republic Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) 2008 6 Nikita Filatov Left wing Russia CSKA Moscow (RSL) 2009 21 John Moore Defense United States Chicago Steel (USHL) 2010 4 Ryan Johansen≠ Center Canada Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
John H McConnell
Hall of Famers
The Blue Jackets have not had any members of the Hockey Hall of Fame associated with their organization.
The Blue Jackets have yet to retire any of their own numbers. However, Wayne Gretzky's number 99 was retired league-wide on February 6, 2000.
Franchise scoring leaders
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history as of the 2010–11 NHL season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Blue Jackets player
Points Goals Assists Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G Rick Nash* LW 592 259 229 478 .81 David Vyborny C 543 113 204 317 .58 Nikolai Zherdev RW 283 76 105 181 .64 Geoff Sanderson LW 261 88 80 168 .72 R.J. Umberger* LW 246 74 84 158 .64 Manny Malhotra C 344 53 92 145 .42 Kristian Huselius* LW 187 58 84 142 .76 Ray Whitney LW 151 45 95 140 .93 Jakub Voracek RW 241 39 95 134 .56 Rostislav Klesla D 515 41 92 133 .26 Player Pos G Rick Nash* LW 259 David Vyborny C 113 Geoff Sanderson LW 88 Nikolai Zherdev RW 76 R.J. Umberger* LW 74 Kristian Huselius* LW 58 Tyler Wright C 57 Jason Chimera LW 54 Antoine Vermette* C 53 Manny Malhotra C 53 Player Pos A Rick Nash* LW 229 David Vyborny C 204 Nikolai Zherdev RW 105 Ray Whitney LW 95 Jakub Voracek RW 95 Manny Malhotra C 92 Rostislav Klesla D 92 Kristian Huselius* LW 84 R.J. Umberger* C 84 Espen Knutsen C 81
NHL awards and trophies
Rocket Richard Trophy
- Rick Nash: 2003–04 (shared with Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers and Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames)
- Steve Mason: 2008-09
- Rick Nash: 2008-09
- Points: Rick Nash (2008–09) — 79
- Goals: Rick Nash (2003–04) — 41
- Assists: Ray Whitney (2002–03) — 52
- Game-winning goals: Geoff Sanderson (2000–01) and Rick Nash (2003–04) — 7
- Penalty minutes: Jody Shelley (2002–03) — 249
- Plus/Minus: Jan Hejda (2008–09) — +23
- Points by a defenseman: Jaroslav Spacek (2002–03) — 45
- Points by a rookie: Rick Nash (2002–03) — 39
- Wins: Steve Mason (2008–09) — 31
- Shutouts in a season: Steve Mason (2008–09) - 10
- Goals against average: Pascal Leclaire (2007–08) — 2.25
- Save percentage: Pascal Leclaire (2007–08) — .919
- Saves: Marc Denis (2002–03) — 2,172
- Longest shutout streak (time without allowing a goal): Steve Mason (2008–09) — 199:19
See also: PDF (533 KB)
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