COLUMBUS, Ohio – The feeling is different around the Columbus Blue Jackets as they open training camp later this week.
After years of dysfunction and defeats, they shook up the NHL by going on a tear to close out last season.
Suddenly, they are considered a team to be reckoned with, with the league's best goaltender (Sergei Bobrovsky) from last year, a solid, young defense (featuring Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin and Dalton Prout) and a rising offense (Marian Gaborik, Mark Letestu and Artem Anisimov).
Season-ticket sales are up. There's a buzz around the city and, for a change, the players aren't embarking on a season with false hopes while being overmatched in talent.
Expectations are high in a city that has seen only one trip to the playoffs in the franchise's 12 seasons.