© Chuck Duboff
All three Winnipeg professional sports teams presenting fans with unbridled excitement; the Winnipeg Goldeyes are on the brink of a third championship in 6 years; the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are whetting the appetite of their long suffering fans, daring to dream a Grey Cup is possible…and the Winnipeg Jets are creating a buzz in this city, with everyone on the edge of their seats, wondering if this team can break through and make a long run in the playoffs!!
With four games left in the season, the Winnipeg Goldeyes last night clinched first place in the Northern Division of the American Association, with a convincing 5-0 win over the St. Paul Saints. Not only have they won their division, but the Goldeyes are two wins away from getting home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
It was at last season’s Championship party, celebrating the Goldeyes 2nd AA title in five years, that Manager Rick Forney said that the championships are nice, but it’s time to win one at home. That sure seems to be what is driving this team right now; not satisfied with just winning the North, the boys want to keep winning and bring a third championship in six years…with this time winning it in front of their loyal fans at Shaw Park
Meanwhile, over at IGF, the Blue Bombers, riding a five game winning streak, are prepping for what will be a huge tilt against the improving Saskatchewan Rough Riders. Both teams are playing very good football, and with the intensity that comes with a rivalry game, this could be a classic.
The Bombers are on a roll, with QB Matt Nichols taking control of the offence; he exudes confidence, seemingly never panicking, even in tough situations. Then there is the energy that Andrew Harris brings to the team; a determination and will to win that is infectious. However, the key for me is our secondary…not so much the side with Randle and Heath, but rather the other side of the secondary where it is a weekly rotation, hoping to find a combination that works. You know Kevin Glenn and the Riders will attack Kevin Fogg and Brandon Alexander…can they handle Carter and Roosevelt?
Rise together; the new campaign slogan for the Winnipeg Jets…you can feel the anticipation in the city as the Jets gear up for training camp. “There are no more excuses”, said Captain Blake Wheeler. “There’s too much talent here not to make the playoffs” stated Matthieu Perrault. Every magazine, online hockey website, all predict the Jets making a deep playoff run.
This has been echoed by many fans these past few weeks, but Paul Maurice is going into this season without a new contract. He’s got the players and it’s time for him to show he can coach and motivate a talented group of players. If the Jets get off to a slow start, such as 2-8 or 3-7, I would not be shocked to see Maurice fired; conversely, were the Jets to come out of the gates flying and by November really marking noise in the NHL, Maurice may sign a new long term contract. This is one of those situations where the talent is there for the coach…the season rides on his ability to maximize the talent and take the Jets to uncharted playoff territory!!