(Just enjoy the music. The "Sting as Jesus" thing is a bit odd.)
It's been roughly 24 hours since the NHL lockout ended with a tentative collective bargaining agreement between the league's owners and players.
It's a brand new day.
I started this blog in the afterglow of the team's 2009 NHL playoffs appearance - it's only one thus far (and something that we haven't forgotten) - and, despite everything the fates have thrown at us, it has survived to see yet another season with a lot of help from some terrific people. If you've read it for any period of time, you know that this blog has been one of the most unflinchingly honest about our hometown team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Honesty is hard sometimes. Looking in the mirror and seeing what you don't want to see is hard. Looking at numbers that don't add up is hard. But we've been honest. We've challenged ourselves to stay honest, and to keep our hometown team honest - at least as a small handful of committed fans can. Sometimes, that means saying the hard truths. We've done that.
I say that to say this: With the lockout now over, I firmly believe that this IS a brand new day for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The team finally hired a hockey operations professional with an honest-to-God track record of improving lousy teams. The team has a head coach that I maintain is pretty darned good. The defense appears to be better. The 900 lb. gorilla has been moved to New York. The goaltending? Who knows, but the new guy has been doing OK in Russia.
I'm not saying that the team's going to win the Cup this year. I'm not saying that they'll even get to the playoffs, regardless of whether the rumored move to the Eastern Conference for 2013 happens. What I am saying is that I am increasingly confident that the elevator ride to respectability for this franchise has started. When one considers the long-term health of the franchise - financially and otherwise - perhaps that elevator ride is the most important.
In that spirit, I made a small but significant cosmetic change to the site. Gone is the banner graphic that reminds us of how general manager Scott Howson is so interested in raising expectations across the board (implicit in that is that, in my opinion, expectations never actually went up...pretty much from any corner of CBJ Nation [Update: I suppose there is a notable exception.]). I think, with the Davidson hiring, that those expectations are rising. So let's switch to the team's new majordomo, Davidson, who tells us that the Blue Jackets will never be outworked. Fair enough. I'll go for a tough team that won't be outworked. That's a good start, and a welcome change from parts of last season (which we won't forget, either).
It will be a wild and bumpy ride...not just this season but the seasons to come. The team will deserve cheers at times and talking to's on others. And through it all, this blog will be here - offering our oft-differing opinions, sharing our stories and enjoying the world of NHL hockey in Central Ohio with you. And we will be honest.
It's a brand new day.