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.

3 Comments

George Prax's picture

"They're a brand-new team, and they're no Thrashers"

While you know the team better than I do, I'm going to have to go and disagree with you there. They pretty much are the Thrashers still, and that's something Jets fans have to accept. I always thought Atlanta was a little underrated and never lived up to their team on paper (maybe because of the lack of a fanbase), but they were still for the most part a non-playoff team. I don't see how the jets could have made enough changes to make themselves a playoff team in so little time, other than maybe the surge they get from their fans, the intangibles, something you're obviously well aware of. That said, at best with that surge they're a fringe team that's still rebuilding. So your statement of "just fine" is definitely true. Expectations can't be too high.

Kory's picture

Agreed George. The Jets have lingering issues that came with them all the way from Georgia. Big Buff is as solid on the blue line as anyone in the league, but it's his lack of discipline and urge to lead the rush at the wrong times that is costing his team - a situation that would sound familiar to a Thrashers fan if they even still exist. Offensively I think they're doing decent. It's defensively and in the penalty box where things are falling apart. They lead the league in Penalties. Although their PK is also top of the league, those guys get tired. The effects if killing off that number of penalties show up in the 3rd, which is around the time the Jets blow their leads.

This honeymoon ended when the Jets were booed off of the ice vs The Panthers in the 1st period. I agree with the idea that his is a fringe team, and it's going to make March/April a pretty exciting time in Winnipeg. That being said , there will come a time when 'Peggers want to EXPECT a playoff spot, and not WISH for it.

Kory's picture

It was also 5-1 at the home opener! Don't make it worse than it was! Tongue