Columbus Blue Jackets Top Five Moments in 2012

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The Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012

Photo by Wyliepoon via Flickr

Yeah, the Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t have the greatest year. Okay, they had the third worst year in franchise history. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have some good moments.

There were some low points, like changing coaches midseason and the infamous Los Angeles Kings game with the frozen clock, but there were some good times as well, like seeing Vinny Prospal play in his 1000th game and guys like Ryan Johansen and Ryan Russell make their debuts on the team. In all, nine players made their NHL debut and five scored their first NHL goal with the team.

Then there was the Rick Nash trade. The team gained three players – Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon – from that, and Nash ultimately bid the city goodbye with class and respect. But there were other trades that have been forgotten: Nick Foligno came from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Marc Methot and Sergei Bobrovsky was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers for draft picks. The team also signed veteran Adrian Aucoin and goalie Curtis McElhinney, who is having an incredible turnaround season in the AHL right now.

I’ve culled five big points in the year for the Blue Jackets, but they have nothing to do with Nash – he’s no longer a Blue Jacket, and the team is looking ahead, not in the past. There are some firsts, some milestones and two new faces in the organization. After the hellish season they’ve had, the Blue Jackets are looking to get back on their collective feet and move forward.

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Jeff Carter’s 500th Game

Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

February 21, 2012

You could probably tell that Jeff Carter just didn’t fit in with the Blue Jackets. Maybe it was his sudden, unannounced trade from the Philadelphia Flyers of which he learned via the Internet. Maybe it was the general attitude that playing in Columbus means your career will take a sharp nosedive. Whatever the reason, it seemed like he was constantly injured, but he was good when he did end up playing. And so it was on February 21st that he reached a huge milestone when he played against the San Jose Sharks in his 500th NHL game. He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings two days later and reunited with his former Flyers teammate Mike Richards, and the rest is Stanley Cup history.

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Cam Atkinson’s First Hat Trick

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

March 5, 2012

In his very first season with the Blue Jackets, Cam Atkinson made his debut on October 7, 2011 and scored his first NHL goal three days later. That would be the beginning of a season that saw him play more with the Springfield Falcons than the Blue Jackets, but he still managed seven goals and 14 points in 27 games. On March 5, he netted his very first NHL hat trick in the Blue Jackets’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. This fall, his talents are being displayed with the Falcons, and he’s having a pretty good season.

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Shawn Hunwick’s Debut

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

April 7, 2012

You see it in other sports: the fourth-string quarterback or seldom-used pitcher who comes into the game when everyone else is hurt. This is exactly what happened to Shawn Hunwick, a University of Michigan goalie who had just finished his college hockey season when the Blue Jackets gave him an amateur tryout contract because their other three goalies were all in various states of injury. He was signed to a contract for the last two games of the 2011-12 season and debuted in the Blue Jackets’ final game of the season against the New York Islanders. He only played for two and a half minutes and never took a shot, but he’ll have the memory of being the goalie in net when the Blue Jackets won that night.

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John Davidson Arrives

Photo by the Columbus Blue Jackets via Twitter

October 24, 2012

In the midst of the lockout, the Blue Jackets decided that it was time to do a little overhaul. Enter John Davidson, formerly of the St. Louis Blues organization, who had brought the Blues from basement team to the playoffs and boasting the best goalie tandem in the league, according to their Jennings Trophy. After a summer of speculation, he was formally hired as the club’s President of Hockey Operations. His job: to turn the Blue Jackets from the worst team in the league to playoff contenders. He has a huge task ahead of him, but fans are confident that he’s up to the task.

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Ryan Murray Drafted

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

June 22, 2012

As the team with the league’s worst record, you’d think the Blue Jackets would’ve had a good chance at nabbing the number one spot for the draft lottery. Of course, things don’t always happen that way, and the Edmonton Oilers took that slot for the third time in a row. In the end, the Blue Jackets chose defenseman Ryan Murray with their second overall pick, and he impressed everyone with his skills over the summer to the point that everyone thought he’d make the team right out of training camp in the fall. Despite facing shoulder surgery in January, he should be ready to hit the ice for the Blue Jackets next season.