This was the term I used to summarize my expectations for the Blue Jackets this upcoming season.
I don't mean that I am expecting another wash of a season; I have simply learned over the past seven years to never expect anything out of the ordinary from this team.
The rollercoaster of expectations Jacket fans have experienced is in the shape of one that has no end, and continously goes downward. In the inaugural season, hopes were high, mostly built on the success of Ohio State athletics (the primary focus of 95% of people in Columbus).
When the team's fortunes turned sour, the fans did the same. Year after year, smoke was blown up our you-know-whats about one thing after the next. If I recall, it was Doug MacLean who stated: "In three years, we will have a playoff team in Columbus." Boy, was he right....
So, to be "cautiously optimistic" is relative to the approach of the new management: under-promise, and over-deliver. If expectations are low, its not too hard to exceed them, right?
Realistically, I am optimistic that the few additions made by Scott Howson this off-season will be contributors. In fact, I know Jan Hejda will surprise many.
A safe bet would be to project the Jackets somewhere between 8 and 10 in the conference. If they play their tails off all season, they should sneak into the playoffs.
You can't expect a lot from a team without expectations, and in this new era of the Columbus Blue Jackets, this just might be the safest approach.