In one sense, the Blue Jackets wanted to forget Jeff Carter's 39-game career in Columbus. Fans were welcomed, free of charge, to have the No. 7 sweaters stripped off Carter's last name and replaced with the club's new No. 7, defenseman Jack Johnson.
But in another sense, fans in Columbus couldn't wait to give Carter a rude welcome back to Nationwide Arena on Thursday, and it turned out to be a rare night of celebration for the Blue Jackets.
Johnson, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings for Carter two weeks ago, along with a first-round draft pick, scored the winning goal in the Blue Jackets' 3-1 victory.
"You can see the difference in the way our team plays when you have all 20 guys actually work hard and want to be here and play," defenseman James Wisniewski said, a not-so-subtle jab at his former teammate.
Carter went into hiding for three days last summer after he was traded by Philadelphia to Columbus. It wasn't until general manager Scott Howson, then-coach Scott Arn...