After making a surprising (if fruitless) run to the playoffs during the 2008-09 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets had a disastrous campaign last year. It cost them their hard-driving head coach Ken Hitchcock and apparently had a Battlefield Earth-like effect on their ticket sales.
The Blue Jackets are still feeling the affects of arguably their most disappointing season in franchise history.
The club confirmed to the Dispatch its season ticket sales are down 24.5 percent from a year ago. The organization has sold 7,700 season subscriptions to date — or 2,500 fewer than last year.
A year ago, Jackets’ season-ticket sales spiked for the first time since the 2001-02 season. They also increased corporate sponsorship at a time many sports franchises were losing revenue from that source.
“When we made the playoffs, it’s like it was going to erupt here,” Umberger said. “It’s up to us to get it back to that.”
It probably doesn’t help much that the team really didn’t add anyone significant via unrestricted free agency. Aside from hiring new head coach Scott Arniel, is there anything the organization can point to as a reason why the team will be significantly improved next season? (“The return of Nikita Filatov” probably won’t resonate with casual fans.)
Columbus is betting big that the addition of Arniel and the team’s maturation process will spur internal improvement. The Blue Jackets are up against a serious challenge in a tough Central division that includes the still-potent Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings plus a young St. Louis Blues team that added Jaroslav Halak this summer. We’ll see if their patient (or cash-strapped) yet idle approach will work out. I have some serious doubts about that.
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
Kane also tied Denis Savard (1985-86) for second-longest streak in Chicago history. Bobby Hull had a 21-game streak.