The Winnipeg Jets…Canada’s best NHL team. (hello TSN & Sportsnet)…by Chuck Duboff

Following a dominating 5-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers, the Winnipeg Jets boarded their plane to Denver, Colorado…and celebrated New Years Eve…while being in first place in the Central Division and third place over all in the NHL.

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Despite the fact that Sportsnet doesn’t even know the Jets player’s names and TSN is too busy slurping Austen Matthews and the Maple Laughs…the Winnipeg Jets are rolling!!

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It really is difficult to single out any one player on the Jets; every player is contributing and understanding their role.  With four starters, Buff, Enstrom, Scheif and Tanev injured, the Jets depth has kept the team humming.  Press box guys, Poolman, Chairot, Mathias and Dano have all stepped up and done great fill in jobs.  It doesn’t seem to matter who Coach Maurice puts out with Matty Hendricks, they just seem to click.  Chevy deserves some major credit for signing Hendricks…the man is a born leader and has given this team something it hasn’t had since the return of our Jets.

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Conner Hellebucyk is giving the Winnipeg Jets a level of goaltending that I don’t think any Winnipeg Jets team has ever had.  I’m talking about going back to Jets 1.0 and goalies like Goalie Bob Essensa.  Hellebucyk is giving this team major league goaltending, making saves that are keeping the Jets in games and instilling a confidence that has never been seen before.  It would be easy to rattle off  all the numbers, from 21 wins to 3 shutouts and on and on…it’s even easier to just say, the Winnipeg Jets are getting major league goaltending and it is time to run with Helle…until he tells Maurice that he is tired, you gotta run with him.

HELLE

Trouba, Morrisey, Ehlers, Conner, Laine…all Winnipeg Jets first round picks; Matty Perrault, Dimitri Kulakov, Matty Hendricks, Brandon Tanev…all free agent signings.  Wheeler, Little, Myers, Armia, Kulakov…all first round picks.  Lowry, Copp, Hellebucyk, Poolman…all late round picks.   I’d say that Chevy and his scouting staff deserve all the credit in the world for assembling this team.

Not only are the Jets sitting at 52 points and third place overall in the NHL,the Manitoba Moose are also sitting in first place and have a team loaded with talent ready to step into a Jets jersey at any time.  Not only having the talent, but this puts pressure on the NHL guys to step up their game, knowing that just down the hallway, Moose players like Roslovic (called up), Lemieux, Petan, Mason Appleton, Sami Niku, Comrie are all waiting for the call up.

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The Jets are 40 games into this season.  They still have a challenging number of road games left in January, but if they can hang in there during this month, the rest of the season sees a lot of home cooking…hi lighted by a ten game home stand in February.
First place in the Central Division, third place overall in the NHL…perhaps Sportsnet and TSN could start taking notice of the best NHL team in Canada.

 

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