As the Columbus Blue Jackets continue their playoff push tonight against the Dallas Stars, it’s not lost on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that Columbus had the 2013 All-Star Weekend, lost it because of the lockout, and now wants it back.

“We know we owe Columbus an All-Star Game,” he said via an email from NHL spokesman Frank Brown Thursday. “We are looking forward to formalizing our future events schedule (which should happen soon) and having one there in the future.”

Bettman has always been supportive of the Columbus market. He worked side-by-side with the club to keep hockey in Columbus, making several visits to Central Ohio when the Nationwide Arena deal was being put together and then, don’t forget, the All-Star Game was awarded to Columbus long before the players looked like these 2013 Jackets.

And now that the product on the ice is starting to meet Bettman’s expectations—as well as the club’s—folks are starting to notice that winning brings national attention. And if Columbus ever wants to have the kind of NHL market enjoyed by the likes of Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, etc…it first needs to win—then it needs the national exposure that winning brings.

The All-Star Game will help that. So will the CBJ’s run this season. But do they need a couple more years to really start reaping the benefits of nationally televised games and positive stories in the national media?

“Our national media partners, and the national media at-large, know a strong and positive story when it emerges and usually are quick to cover it in response to the interests of their audience,” said Bettman. “That said, national exposure isn’t something that necessarily follows a timeline and it wouldn’t be proper for me to suggest one. Suffice it to say: This has been an important season for reinforcing the Blue Jackets’ competitive credibility and that advancement has been noticed widely.”

It’s a pleasing scenario for Bettman.

“I have always had tremendous confidence in Columbus as a National Hockey League market and the ownership of the Blue Jackets. The support of the fans, year-in and year-out, has only served to reinforce that confidence,” said Bettman. “Nationwide Arena is a truly outstanding venue, and it has been terrific to watch the Arena District emerge as a top destination for Blue Jackets fans and visitors to the city. The Columbus organization has taken a significant step forward this year, which is great for the fans.”

It’s also great for management—John Davidson said he would build brick-by-brick, and he’s making moves as such for the long-term. But the immediate success is something Bettman couldn’t be happier for both the fans and the man behind the change.