Jets just fine, so far
Its that time of the year where you like to take a look back at the season so far. The Winnipeg Jets made their triumphant return, and despite losing 6-1 in their season opener at home to the Habs, the crowd cheered like they just won Lord Stanley.
But now we're more than 20 games in. Are the Jets what you expected? For more, the newest team back in the NHL seems to be surprising hockey-goers and for good reason.
The team was brand new to the city, and while a lot of players were on the Atlanta Thrashers, they did have to gel with newcomers - some who Manitobans were familiar with in the former AHL Manitoba Moose franchise (now the St. John's IceCaps).
The Jets are below .500 at the time of writing this, having most recently dropped two games after blowing a two-nothing lead. One to the Bruins, the other do the Sens.
Sure, there is lots to be critical of. Offensively the Jets need to improve. Defensively as well.
But consider all the adjustments the team is currently going through. They're a brand-new team, and they're no Thrashers. There are several people currently predicting that if they keep up the work thus far, they'll end up in the 8th playoff spot. A kind time to remind hockey fans that the Thrashers only made the playoffs once in their 11-year history.
The passion is still in Winnipeg and it will be for a long, long time. Sure, the hype will settle at some point in time, but in the meantime they're enjoying the biggest honeymoon one has ever heard of.
Case in point... the Jets recently opened a store in a mall in south Winnipeg. An astonished crowd watched as the Jets, leading 2-1 against the Canes, scored an empty-netter with 9 seconds left to bring it to 3-1. The crowd in the mall erupted. And of the 30+ people watching, only two left at that point. Though the Jets were sure to win at that point, the crowd stayed until the nine seconds of play were up, erupted with another cheer and high-fives all around.
The hype continues in Winnipeg, and as long as the loudest barn in the NHL [MTS Centre] continues to be that way, count on strong teams to feel the pressure and choke in the Jets hanger.