As the story goes, Chicken Little screams that “the sky is falling. The sky is falling.” Much to his disappointment, the sky doesn’t in fact fall when anyone else is watching. There’s been some concern over the Winnipeg Jets pre-season record so far. Sitting at a losing 2-3-0 record with just 2 games to go, it’s unlikely that they’ll end pre-season with a winning record. But relax, the sky is not falling.
In fact, quite the opposite is really happening. Winnipeg has yet to ice its true starting lineup. Pre-season is the time to try out new things, figure out who impresses and who doesn’t. Have a look at Mark Scheifele who was drafted 7th overall by the Jets at this seasons entry draft. He’s the league leader in points and goals in pre-season action with just three games…and the Jets have played five. The rookie is definitely on fire averaging 2-points per game. Yes, doing the math he leads with 6 points…more than the team has in the standings.
Speaking of standings, the Jets are sitting second in their division and tied for seventh in the conference. That would mean a first-round playoff bout with Buffalo or Boston – now wouldn’t that make for a great series of entertainment? Yes, the playoffs are months away. Heck, even the regular season is just under two-weeks away – 12 days to be exact for Jets home opener, but who’s counting.
The bottom line is that while the Jets lack luster start to the pre-season is underway, all of the games played have been with split squads. Leading off a nice victory in St. John’s, NL yesterday at Kraft Hockeyville the Jets will face the Carolina Hurricanes at home tomorrow night (7:30CT TSN, TSN JETS) and you should expect to see a much more cohesive lineup reflective of puck drop on opening night on October 9.
The other thing you have to remember is that True North is committed to keeping hockey in the city long term and building a team, not buying one. I suspect the Jets will actually make the playoffs this season, despite a lot of other opinions saying otherwise. It will be a hard battle and everyone, especially the fans, need to know that they won’t have a perfect season and thus will incur some marks in the L column. Heck, if they can win 80% of their home games – which, in front of a sold out crowd is possible – they’ll have almost bested the Thrashers wins for last season; the whole season.
No matter what happens, be thankful hockey is back to the River City. Stand up and say it loud and proud “GO JETS GO!“