The hapless Columbus Blue Jackets have largely been basement-dwellers in their brief existence in the NHL. They have made it to the playoffs only once in 10 seasons, in 2008-2009. And that was nothing to write home about, as they were swept by perennial Western Conference kingpins, the Detroit Red Wings.
However, things are about to change in a big way for Columbus in the 2011-2012 season.
This will be the year the Jackets return to the playoffs and show some mettle, much to the relief of the waning fan base. Unsuspecting teams like the Chicago Blackhawks will get caught off-guard by the surging Jackets brigade and face early elimination in the march to the Stanley Cup.
One might wonder how these lofty ideals could be achievable when this nondescript franchise is accustomed to folding the tent at the sight of spring.
Well, times have changed, and expectations have changed for the Jackets faithful. Making the playoffs is no longer a discretionary option. It is a "must have" and not a "nice to have."
It's a new day, and the young franchise has learned from its well-documented failures on and off the ice.
Here are three reasons why Columbus will right the ship and sail to the "new world" of playoff hockey.