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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Cam Atkinson believes the Columbus Blue Jackets are getting better. Jalin Marshall Jersey . But hes also realizes just how far they have to go. "We got a little taste of what we wanted in making the playoffs," the 24-year-old winger said the day after the Blue Jackets were eliminated in Game 6 of their wild first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. "We just won two games. Its a stepping stone." For years an NHL doormat, the Blue Jackets are both inspired and also realistic after the best season in the franchises mostly rocky 13 seasons. "I heard on the radio the other day that Game 4 is one of the great sports moments in this city," forward Mark Letestu said, referring to a three-goal comeback at home that was capped by a last-minute tying goal in regulation and Nick Folignos overtime winner. "I think theres a lot more that we can give. We can give series victories and further cement the Blue Jackets in the hearts of people here. Thats whats on guys minds right now." It was a season of firsts for the Blue Jackets, who have spent much of their existence toward the bottom of the NHL standings. They set club records with 43 regular-season wins, 21 road victories, 93 points and 231 goals. They had made the playoffs just once previously and their stay lasted only four games, all losses. But one of the leagues youngest teams overcame a 5-10-0 start with a strong finish to clinch a playoff spot. Then, they won Games 2 and 4 against the Penguins with stirring comebacks. In Monday nights Game 6, they were outclassed early and trailed 4-0 heading into the final period before scoring three goals in a 4:52 span to energize a crowd of 19,189 that stood and roared throughout the final minutes. The 4-3 defeat left them disappointed, but most will likely only remember the Jackets scrambling at the finish for a possible tying goal while the Penguins struggled to hold them off. "The building was rocking," defenceman Jack Johnson said. "But theres going to be a lot more and better times ahead." Beyond everything else they accomplished, they gave their patient followers some hope. Over their past 111 games, the Blue Jackets are 62-37-12 -- far and away the best such span in the franchises history, and exceeded by only seven other teams in the league. "Its been great to see where we came from halfway through last season to where we are now and how excited the city gets," said fourth-line centre Derek MacKenzie, an unrestricted free agent this summer. "Weve already talked about that. What would it be like if we could have a great start? Is that arena going to be like that all season long? We sure hope so." The Blue Jackets poor history has become, well, old news. "Everybody hears about the past," said rookie defenceman Ryan Murray, taken No. 2 in the 2012 draft. "It hasnt been very good. Everybody thats here now just wants to change that, to change the culture and bring in more fans and change the city into a hockey town." Judging from the capacity crowds down the stretch and in the playoffs, and the excitement generated around this city of 787,000. For the past few weeks, the Blue Jackets have been the talk of the town, pulling off a rare coup by bumping Ohio State football off the front page of the local newspaper. Now that the Blue Jackets have stamped themselves as a good team, the hard part is getting better. "I dont think were going to catch anybody by surprise anymore," defenceman James Wisniewski said. "Everybody realizes the identity that weve created here, that its going to be a hard-fought game and that theyre going to have to bring their A game or were going to run them out of the building." Many of the Blue Jackets had already shaved off their playoff beards before meetings with the coaching staff on Tuesday morning. Several of the younger players were barely able to grow one. So now a team that didnt know what it was missing when it didnt make the playoffs is disappointed that it has been eliminated. "Ill be watching (the playoffs) for sure," Atkinson said. "What else is there to do now? You wish you could be playing." Wesley Walker Jersey . Ashton scored a hat trick -- giving him 13 goals in 16 AHL games this season -- to power the Toronto Marlies to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Lake Erie Monsters in AHL action on Sunday. Morris Claiborne Jersey . Catch all the action on TSN starting at 10:30pm et/7:30pm pt. Toronto won at Denver and Utah, but lost in Portland and Sacramento. The Kings loss was the most recent game for the Raptors. http://www.authenticjetsfanatic.com/c-68-jets-austin-seferian-jenkins-jersey.aspx . James Erskine said Tuesday that Thorpe was "quite sick" in a Sydney hospital but dismissed media reports the swimmer might lose the use of his left arm. "Hes not in the intensive care," Erskine said.SOCHI, Russia -- Ukraine will compete in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi despite Russias military moves in Crimea. The Ukrainian Paralympic Committee decided against boycotting the games, announcing a few hours before Fridays opening ceremony that its athletes would stay. The decision came after discussions between Ukrainian officials and athletes over whether to pull out in light of the crisis back home and Russias military takeover of the Crimean peninsula. "We are staying at the Paralympics," Valeriy Sushkevich, president of the National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine, said at a news conference. However, he added that the circumstances were far from ideal. "I dont remember a situation when the organizing country during a Paralympics started an intervention on the territory of a country taking part," Sushkevich said, according to the R-Sport agency. "I dont know what to extent the team can focus on the result now." The Ukrainian official said the team would leave Sochi if there is any escalation of military conflict. "I declare should this happen we will leave the games," Sushkevich said. "We cannot possibly stay here in this case." He said he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday night to discuss the situation and request peace during the games. Suskevich said he did not receive any guarantees but it was important that Putin agreed to listen. Putin and IOC President Thomas Bach are expected to attend Fridays opening ceremony. Several countries have decided not to send political leaders or dignitaries to the ceremony in protest of Russias actions in Ukkraine. Joe Klecko Jersey. Ukraines decision to compete in Sochi was welcomed by the International Paralympic Committee. "We want sport to prevail and a full complement of teams to compete in what we are confident will be a fantastic Paralympic Winter Games," IPC President Phillip Craven said. "All week the IPC has been working closely with the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee in an effort to keep them here in Sochi. The talking point of Sochi 2014 needs to be great sport and great athletes, not global politics." The IPC has appealed for Russia to recognize the U.N.s Olympic Truce, which asks warring parties to cease hostilities during the Olympics and Paralympics. About 575 athletes from 45 countries are due to compete in the 10-day Paralympics. Five sports are on the program -- alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, sledge hockey and wheelchair curling. Ukraine has entered 23 athletes for the Sochi Paralympics. It finished fifth in the medals table at the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010, with a total of 19 medals and five gold. Ukrainian athletes chanted "peace to Ukraine" as they apparently walked out of a flag-raising ceremony in Sochi on Thursday night. That is now under investigation by the IPC as a possible breach of rules banning political protests. "What were trying to do is gather the evidence, gather the transcripts and then we will see if any steps are necessary," IPC spokesman Craig Spence said. "If there was a political protest, obviously wed be disappointed by that because we have said all week that this is about sport, not politics." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '


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