With the playoffs coming to an abrupt end of the Columbus Blue Jackets and many players headed for free agency, uncertainty reigns supreme over a franchise that only weeks ago had seemed bound for greatness.
What happened? Well, the Columbus Blue Jackets faced a team that was everything that they were not. Namely, they faced the Boston Bruins, a team that has lived in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past few years. The Jackets are just getting used to appearing in the playoffs while the Bruins have been to the finals in recent memory and the conference finals in even more recent memory. Veterans who have playoff experience is what killed Columbus late in their series with Boston.
Veterans like Brad Marchand who are as good at finishing series as they are at behaving like model citizens dominated the back end of the series against the Jackets. Veterans Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci all were stellar down the stretch as the Blue Jackets failed to rise to the occasion and match the intensity Boston displayed in game 4 facing a potential 3-1 deficit.
The good news is that while the Columbus Blue Jackets lacked veterans this series they won’t lack it in the future as three consecutive post-seasons have demonstrated that the younger stars no longer crumble in big moments and there are more players who can step up when needed. Regardless of how this offseason plays out the Columbus Blue Jackets now have experience on their side, albeit a painful loss after finally winning a playoff series. Don’t count out the effect that breaking that streak will have on this franchise moving forward.