Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/16/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Watching the Pittsburgh Penguins in action, one has to wonder if the expectations being placed on the Winnipeg Jets aren't doing more harm than good.
This constant push for the Jets to be a playoff team when it's obvious they are a fringe contender at best, can be viewed as counterproductive.
The Jets buzzed and buzzed Friday night but in the end, their talent proved inferior. Pittsburgh's finishers finished. Their goalie was almost perfect. What a difference a legitimately elite player -- something the Jets do not have -- would have made.
There's no arguing it's better to draft first than 10th. The Jets are stuck in the middle as a result of trying so hard to be more. It's admirable, but in a way self-defeating.
The Penguins, as they are currently constructed, were built on the pillars of bankruptcy, indifference, futility and finally luck, in the form of a lottery pick named Sidney Crosby.
Not exactly the mission statement of the Winnipeg Jets.
But it's easy to argue the Jets would be better off forgetting about a playoff spot and engage in a total rebuild. One that starts with a full gut of the franchise, not a room-by-room renovation.
GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could forget about trying to cobble together a team by constantly working to squeak into the playoffs and focus his resources on collecting assets for tomorrow.
Picking first, second or third at the draft increases the opportunity of getting a franchise-type player. A player like Seth Jones or Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin, who might change an organization's destiny.
Certainly, good players can be had beyond the top three. Jacob Trouba appears to be a veritable steal from the nine-spot last summer, but the chances of a big payoff diminish quickly after the top few picks.
The pain involved in a total rebuild, however, is very real and difficult to sell to fans. Factor in Winnipeg's 15 years of being forced to watch the NHL on the tube and it borders on cruel and unusual punishment.
But rock-bottom has its benefits. Pittsburgh picked either first or second overall four straight years, taking Marc-Andre Fleury (first in 2003), Evgeni Malkin (second in 2004), Crosby (first in 2005) and Jordan Staal (second in 2006).
The Pittsburgh Penguins are great because they sucked.
The Jets have nothing that remotely resembles Crosby, Malkin or Fleury. Getting players of that calibre is difficult. The easiest way is to select at the top of the draft.
The Jets must draft and develop; it's their only path to success. Picking first or close to it would better the odds.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @garylawless
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 16, 2013 C1
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Fringe candidates get attention they deserve
World-class 'Elvis' to star at tribute festival in Gimli
Careful, don't shut large families out of wedding
City dangerous by design
Tell MD your husband is not taking meds
Red River Settler took the high ground
Fargo embraces Canadian winter
From recycling to riches
Strengthening Abbas offers best hope for peace
Your weekend weather
Lack of genetic diversity threat to livestock
An uncomfortable silence
Trending that caught Doug's eye: Famous babies
Demigod or not, Herc's got the goods
Art film chugs into your living room
Mosquito net can solve problem of biting remarks
Muslims share fears of extremism
More booze isn't always a good thing
How the seven mayoral candidates stack up so far
When it comes to getting a few laughs, I've got the scoop
Walters needs to keep his eyes on the prize
Joke's on those who thought referendum law had teeth
Hockey Manitoba still doesn't get the message
Time to turf police turf war
Tell the gossips you'll take them on
Follow the script
No-churn ice cream gives you all the creamy taste with none of the hassle
That empty (nest) feeling
Long wait over for odd-couple cop show
Try to win back her affections, but don’t text
PC leader keeps far from flood fight's crucial front lines
Fringe flap gets ugly
Dungy would deny Sam the opportunity he was given
Council ripe for third-party rule?
PST court challenge was risky political ruse
'I could have texted all night': Selfie a modern My Fair Lady
Good idea to leave town to escape ex-girlfriend
Wiener dog a wonder at weight loss