© Geoff Brookes
Some long-suffering Winnipeg Jets fan tweeted this week that he will become a “believer” in this 2017-18 Jets team if they rack up three consecutive wins over Vegas and Arizona (twice), through Tuesday night.
Most Jets fans can relate to this dude. Many would salute him for publicly saying what we are privately feeling.
The uninitiated reader will want to understand this skepticism. The veterans of past campaigns will point, with weathered, bony fingers to the exhibits of past futility, as if they were a collective ghost of Christmas past:
- February 4, 2017- a desperate Jets team visits the worst team in the central division – Colorado, who have just lost 9 straight – and post a 5-2 loss on the blank spot on the bingo card ;
- February 5, 2016 – Jets lose to cellar-dweller Carolina, 5-3
- March 21 and 22, 2013 – with the Jets leading the south east division, they drop consecutive games at home to the Washington Capitals by a combined score of 10-1. They go on to blow the division lead and drift right out of the playoff race.
We could go on.
So, despite the heady, intoxicating draft from an early season 8-1-3 streak, Jets fans are acting more cautious than boisterous. Hence the skeptical tweet.
We want to embrace this exciting, youthful team, blessed with an ability to score early and often. We want to declare the greatness of bar-down, post-and-in shots from Scheifele, Laine and Ehlers. We want to celebrate the great play-making of under-rated NHL star Blake Wheeler. We want to cheer every save from budding young goaltending star Connor Hellebuyck.
But we’re still just a little bit nervous.
Yup, a few wins over the weekend, including back to back wins over last place Arizona, would go a long way to exorcizing the demons of past losses at critical moments.
The word consistency has been used a lot, lately, to describe this current jets team. We are hoping that it isn’t a mirage. We want to actually drink from the well.
On Friday night, one of the hottest teams in the NHL will arrive at one of the hottest places in the NHL, in the Nevada desert. The Jets will play the unexpectedly solid expansion Vegas Golden Nights.
There will be more than a few Jets fans nervously sipping their drinks and munching on snacks, glued to their TV, or their sightlines at T-Mobile Arena.
If the Jets can depose the Knights like they did with the Stars, and then repeat that twice with the Coyotes, there will be cheers.
But there might also be a gentle breeze – the audible relief of thousands of sighs and exhalations from fans who finally feel comfortable that the Jets’ elusive consistency has been found; that the Jets have finally arrived as an NHL contender.
The fans of the Winnipeg Jets are ready to welcome a champion hockey team once again.
They just want to start that off by cheering a Jets team that can consistently beat the cellar dwellers.