One shift at a time

When a team is not that good, it’s important to work hard and win the small battles. If enough small battles are won, the theory behind that would suggest the big battle could be won.

Last year the Calgary Flames were not a good hockey team, but they managed to put together an impressive final 25 games to fall just shy of the playoffs. On the opposite side, the Atlanta Thrashers started off the season looking like the playoffs were in reach. After the all star break the team fell apart and spiraled to finish with the sixth worst record in the league.

Let me be frank when I say the Jets are not a good team…yet. I fully believe if they stay the course they soon will be, but the current development of the team is one that cannot win on skill alone. This is a team that needs to out skate and out work their opponents if they want to be competitive.

We have seen glimpses of this, but it has yet to be a full sixty minutes and it’s cost them. It has cost them leads in Chicago, Philadelphia and the other night in Florida. They managed to escape with the wins in Philly and Florida, but they gave up a point to a division rival and that is something you cannot do if you expect to make the playoffs.

The Jets seem to get lost in various portions of the game and it has cost them almost every time on the score board. Perhaps if the Jets stop looking at the big picture and focus on out working the opposing line of every shift, they’ll find more goals in their favor and more ticks in the win column.

Is it realistic for the Jets to win 40 games this year? Probably not. Is it reasonable for the line of Ladd, Little and Wheeler to outwork an opposing line for a shift? Definitely.

Realistic achievable goals is how you breed success. If the Jets take that approach they can develop a culture of winning even if they don’t win games this year. But when you are consistently winning the little battles you will eventually win the war.

The team needs to take baby steps, one shift at a time, one period at a time, one game at a time. And we as fans need to reward the good shifts and remain patient through the bad.

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.