For a change, Blue Jackets flush with hope

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Everywhere Rick Nash goes, the Columbus Blue Jackets all-star forward bumps into exuberant fans who can't wait to talk about the club's new look.

Even though Nash is only 27, he is entering his ninth year of scoring goals and carrying the load in Columbus. He's enthused and upbeat that now he has some help.

Hopes have risen and fallen in the franchise's 10 previous seasons marked by just one quick trip to the playoffs that lasted the minimum four games in 2009. But the offseason addition of Philadelphia goal-scoring star Jeff Carter, puck-moving defenseman James Wisniewski, sniper Vinny Prospal and steady blue-liner Radek Martinek has given a downtrodden fan base some hope.

With more talent than ever before, now the Blue Jackets must make sure that translates to success on the ice.