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2013 Blue Jackets Preview: Eastbound and Up

Erik Siegrist

Erik Siegrist

Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.

The 2012-13 season started out as everyone expected it to for the Rick Nash-less Blue Jackets, as they shrugged their way to just five wins and 13 points through the first 20 games of the abbreviated schedule. Without their superstar, the rag-tag collection of grinders and cast-offs that made up the Columbus roster just couldn't get anything going.

Then, Sergei Bobrovsky happened.

The former Flyer was no great shakes to begin the year, but somewhere in the middle of a February road trip he found himself. First he helped steal a game in Detroit. Once back home, he dragged the club to a couple of tough overtime losses, tightened his straps, and then backstopped the Jackets to five straight victories. The team, and the city of Columbus, took notice, and infused with a sudden confidence the whole team surged into a completely manic and improbable scramble for a playoff spot that ended with eight wins in their last nine games and a heart-breaking ninth place finish due

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