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For a change, Blue Jackets fans are optimistic

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The top three topics on sports talk shows in this city are usually Ohio State football, Ohio State football recruiting and Ohio State football's spring practices.

Blue-Jackets-Hurrican Sidd

Blue Jackets' Tim Erixon (20), Brandon Dubinsky, upper right, Nikita Nikitin (6), of Russia, Boone Jenner (38) and Marian Gaborik celebrate Gaborik's goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Columbus won 5-4. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Columbus Blue Jackets haven't upset that pecking order, although they are elbowing their way into the conversation.

Dead last in the league early in the NHL's shortened last season, the Blue Jackets suddenly found the winning touch. They went 19-5-5 down the stretch, energizing their fan base and shocking a lot of opponents used to walking over the 12-year-old franchise.

With the addition of free agent Nathan Horton to go with Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and a solid if largely unknown roster of proven pros, the Blue Jackets are expecting big things as they prep for a season of promise.

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