The debate about whether or not Winnipeg would bring the tradition of the Whiteout back to life was thought to have cooled off until next year. That was until the farm team in St. John’s decided to ask their fans to wear white for this years Calder Cup run and to quote the double rainbow guy… “What does it mean?!!?”
It could really be interpreted in one of three ways and we’ll look at each with our take on its likelihood.
Nothing – 10%
It is possible that the IceCaps are simply trying to start their own playoff tradition and chose to pick one they knew would get fans of the “big club” excited and interested. The Whiteout has always been a touchy subject for ‘Peggers with many upset that Phoenix still does it (they did it to keep our tradition alive, not mock it by the way) and that Pittsburgh has also used it.
This may simply be a smart PR move by the Caps to have some fun with their fans.
Trial Run – 30%
Another possibility was that True North asked the Caps to do it to see what the response would be and how the team would perform in those conditions. It’s no secret that the Jets of old had little success in the postseason. They won only two playoff series in their time in Winnipeg both against the Calgary Flames. The first series was before the Whiteout and the second was the year it was born. Until this years playoffs the franchise had never won another playoff series when asking fans to Whiteout the stands, so the Coyotes first round win over the Blackhawks was the first playoff victory since 1987.
While unlikely superstitious True North was and is likely cautious of the effect it might have on its players psychologically and the negative aspects of it. Much like opening night the Jets seemed to be overwhelmed by the crowd and ended up losing 5-1. Given the track record the Jets may have wanted to see how a strong team like the Caps would do in a similar situation. The fact they are currently 2-0 at home and won their first round match up could mean all of the above concerns were disproven and the reason the Jets/Coyotes lost was a simpler explanation. They weren’t the better team.
Grooming for the Jets – 60%
True North has revealed several of their plans to us and the one that really ties into this area is they want the systems and philosophies to be the same in St. John’s as they are in Winnipeg to make the transition easier when a player is called up or sent down. What better way to prepare a player for the rowdy MTS Centre come playoffs then to replicate the atmosphere. Regardless of a Whiteout or a Blue Sky, the crowd in Winnipeg come playoffs will be crazy. The Whiteout in St. John’s will hopefully turn into a double Whiteout next year and when it does and a player has to be called up to fill in during a cup run the MTS Centre won’t be as big of a shock as it could be, one might even say it’ll feel like home only bigger.