Blue Jackets: Playoff primer

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For Blue Jackets fans, the NHL playoffs seem foreign. It's the post-season party, and we've never gotten the invite. But with Columbus' first playoff bid looking more probable than just possible, here's what you need to know about the race for the Lord Stanley's Cup.

Marathon men

With four rounds of best-of-seven series, the NHL playoffs are a grueling test of endurance. They begin April 15 and end as late as June 15. And this comes after more than six months of regular-season hockey.

Bracket busters

With 16 teams qualifying, NHL playoff seeds will likely befuddle March Madness fans. The top eight teams in each conference get in, with division winners getting the top three seeds and the remaining five teams seeded by record. In the second round, matchups are reshuffled so the highest-seeded team plays the lowest. Confused yet?

Shootouts shot

Regular-season shootouts may be exciting, but playoff games are decided on the ice in sudden-death five-on-five hockey. And they play until there's a winner, so be prepared to lose some sleep. The longest game on record involved 116 minutes of overtime.

Believe in the beard

The playoff beard is one of the great traditions in all of sports. Players quit shaving when their team enters the playoffs, and don't touch the razor until elimination. We can't wait to see how the young Jackets' face fuzz fills in.

Just the Ticket

Still not convinced the Blue Jackets will make the playoffs? Here's a note of encouragement: Team officials have released an official postseason ticket plan.

"We have work yet to be done, but we're close enough that we need to start selling some tickets," said Larry Hoepfner, senior vice president of business operations for Nationwide Arena.

Single-game tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 11, and game dates will be announced the evening of April 12. Tickets will be sold at Nationwide Arena, Ticketmaster locations and the Blue Line at Tuttle Crossing. You can also score them at BlueJackets.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Team officials expect high demand, but if you're late to the game, local brokers should have you covered.

"We can get you anything you want, from just getting in the door to glass seats," said Jamie Kaufman, president of Dream Seats in Grandview. "We'll have [Blue Jackets tickets] available for everyone's pocketbook. We're not talking Ohio State football here."

-John Ross