Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Can't let sentiment trump team's goals

  • Print

In some ways the romantic notion of keeping these Winnipeg Jets together because of where they've come from and what they've become is understandable. But this business is about results and if Kevin Cheveldayoff can make his team better today, he should and he will.

They skated off the ice Saturday afternoon in solidarity as the group that has come to be known as the first edition of the new Winnipeg Jets. But will they still be together as one come this afternoon?

Cheveldayoff has needs and desires. A forward or two to round out his four lines and more draft picks are always nice. The Jets GM has been firm in the message that he won't be sending any of his prospects or picks for a rent-a-player. If anything, look for the Jets to move one or two of their impending unrestricted free agents for a piece they think can help now or down the road.

The Jets enter the final hours of the trading season sitting in eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and currently playing some of their best hockey. They've found an elite power forward in Blake Wheeler and developed some scoring punch in the toughest stretch of the season.

Goalies Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason continue to be a better-than-most duo and the blue-line is hanging in despite having key performer Zach Bogosian out of the lineup.

The Jets are in a nice place and were Cheveldayoff to stand pat it would be understandable. The Jets are not going to make a blockbuster and move any of their young pieces like Evander Kane or Bogosian or Wheeler, leaving Cheveldayoff to mostly tinker.

It'll be fun to watch unfold and sitting down for the James Duthie Show today will be more riveting than it ever has for Winnipeggers. Don't get me wrong, Duthie is far and away the best in the business at what he does but this year it's both sizzle and steak for Winnipeggers. We're emotionally invested once again.

It's been one thing in the past to watch the deadline day shows but this year, well, that official Jets jersey you're wearing with your favourite player's name on the back could become a collector's item a little faster than you had planned. As in, oops, that guy no longer plays for the Jets.

Mothers and fathers around this city could be explaining to young children the cruelty of professional sports for the first time. Little Suzie may have to learn first-hand what it's like to have the player she loves get shipped to another team.

The long and short of it is we now care more than we have in a very long time. Like many of the nuances of having an NHL team that we've experienced as a community this season, today will bring a whole new set of emotions.

Hope, frustration, heartbreak, joy and disappointment are all on the table today as Cheveldayoff and his group of personnel people spin the NHL's version of Wheel of Fortune.

A key factor today for the Jets is their stability as an organization. Cheveldayoff is in a position of security and doesn't need to make a desperation move to impress ownership and extend his tenure.

Ownership has revenue insurance in the form of a sold-out building for a number of years to come. There will be no panic in the war room when Cheveldayoff and 10 other Jets personnel types settle in. They'll make calls but more likely they'll wait for the phone to ring and hear that fear and desperation on the other end of the line and try to take advantage and press someone else into a mistake.

Cheveldayoff has a couple of assets he believes won't harm his team's chemistry or competiveness and he'll be willing to deal if the return is juicy enough.

So sit back and let the nail biting begin. And if the excitement gets to be a little too much, just harken back to last year when it didn't really matter at all.

This is way better. Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 27, 2012 C1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets players discuss outcome of Game 3 and hopes for Game 4

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


Will Connor McDavid make the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team?

View Results

Ads by Google