Hope is a wonderful thing. Without Hope the NHL would have never came back to Winnipeg. The fans kept the hope and dream of the Jets alive through stories websites and word of mouth. Behind closed doors True North also kept hope alive and diligently worked to bring a team to the River City.
Now as their inaugural season is approaching the end hope is still alive. The Jets are in the playoff hunt and have a great chance of making the post season. As I write this they are only 1pt out of the Southeast Division lead. No one expect the fans thought this was possible.
As soon as True North bought the Thrashers the media was telling the people of Winnipeg to not get their hopes up. That these were still the Thrashers just in a different location. The pundits talked of how the team would struggle and making the playoffs or even being in contention was a longshot.
At first they struggled and the experts patted themselves on the back. They were right and the only thing this team was going to fight for was a high draft pick. Yet then something peculiar happened. Powered by the home crowd the Jets started to win. They started to believe. As December rolled on the Jets started to seem themselves move up the standings and into the mix for the playoffs.
When December 31st hit the Jets were playing some of the best hockey in the nHL. Then January hit and the Jets began to struggle. Injuries hurt this team as at one time or another most of their top players were out with various injuries. They dropped out of a playoff spot and the media pounced.
The Jets were 5pts out of playoff spot and at the the exact halfway point of the season when both local papers called for the Jets to write the season off. The Free Press said that they should be sellers at the trade deadline while the Sun said they lacked the talent to compete for a playoff spot.
On Twitter local media members would openly mock and make fun of the team. If a fan defended them and pointed out that they were still very much in the hunt then the media member would call the fan delusional and unrealistic. I have gotten into a few arguments on Twitter with members of the local media. I have been called a “Fanboy” and that I am just “fooling myself”.
Now there is nothing wrong with being honest. If the team is struggling then yes the media has a right to call them out. Their job is to report the news not be cheerleaders for the team. The problem is they only like to bring up the negative aspects and completely ignore the positive ones.
Yes the team had a horrible January but you know what they were never more than 5 pts out of a playoff birth. That is not a team that should just write of the season and look to the future. The fans are not delusional for hoping and thinking that the team can make the post season.
These guys are playing their hearts out. Kane, Wheeler, Burmistrov, Wellwood and Pavelec are all having statistically the best seasons of their careers. Bogosian is becoming the defenseman that a lot of people thought he could be. Lets never confuse lack of depth with lack of talent. The Jets have the talent to compete, their problem was when injuries hit they were unable to fill the holes. Show me any team the can lose its top D men and top scorers and still win.
This is no pipe dream. This team will be in the playoff picture right until the end of the season. At this point I say we have a 50/50 chance of the postseason. The only troublesome spot is that we have played 2 and 3 games more than our closest rivals. Those games in hand could come back and hurt this team.
Yet until they are mathematically eliminated from contention. I am going to have hope. I refused to listen to the media when they said that the NHL would never come back to Winnipeg. I refused to listen to the experts saying that Winnipeg couldn’t support the team, that the city and the arena was too small. The city and its fans proved them wrong. Winnipeg has the loudest most active fan base in the league.
So when somebody says that the Jets can’t make the playoff or that they are just not good enough I know right then and there that they are wrong. This team may not be the Oilers from the 80′s but they still are a team that can strive for something greater than a high draft pick. They are in the hunt and with enough support they can do us all proud and make a legit run at the post season.
Thats all we can hope for.
Category: Jets News