Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Blue Jackets Newest Rival? Not Just Yet

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Blue Jackets Newest Rival? Not Just Yet

Article excerpt

COLUMBUS, Ohio --

This is not one of the NHL's great rivalries.

Or even one of the better ones.

Or much of a rivalry at all, for that matter.

But that could change.

And pretty quickly.

For while Columbus isn't any closer geographically to Pittsburgh than it was when the Blue Jackets entered the NHL in 2000, the franchises definitely are now that they're in the same division.

The Blue Jackets, who closed out a home-and-home series with the Penguins Saturday night at Nationwide Arena, were transplanted to the Eastern Conference this season after spending more than a decade in the West.

What's more, they were dropped into the newly formed Metropolitan Division, where the Penguins also reside.

Which means that how many points separate the teams suddenly means even more than how few miles separate their home cities. Besides, familiarity breeds contempt, and the Penguins will face Columbus five times, rather than one or two, in 2013-14.

"There's no real history yet, but there's no real reason why it can't start," said Columbus forward R.J. Umberger, a Plum native. "People [in Western Pennsylvania] probably aren't that familiar with our team, even though we're only three hours away, but now they'll have a chance to see us four or five times a year.

"Also, with the chances of [meeting in] the playoffs ... that's where rivalries really begin."

That is something on which players from both teams agree.

"It has potential, but typically rivalries are built over time and playing important games," Penguins winger Craig Adams said. "We'll just have to see.

"If we play them in the playoffs or something like that, it's going to push things forward.

"But I think it has to develop on its own. I don't think people can just hope for it."

FRIENDLY RIVALRY

Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson attended prep school together at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota and, in the process, became close friends.

Almost like brothers.

The kind of brothers who would arm-wrestle to see who gets the last strip of bacon at breakfast. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.