Another summer Twitter tempest has erupted among the most ardent of Jets Nation, this time concerning team captain Andrew Ladd.
Ladd said Tuesday he did favourite a tweet by accident, one posted overnight Monday by a Jets fan critical of the off-season the NHL team is having. When the matter was pointed out to him, Ladd said he quickly unfavourited the tweet by @sliiiiip that said "I just found a video that sums up the #NHLJets offseason magnificently!" It links to a YouTube video showing a picture of wrestling maven Bryan Alvarez yelling "minus five stars" for a full 10 minutes.
Ladd, who spoke to the Free Press later Tuesday, said he had looked at Twitter just before going for his daily workout and didn't realize what he'd done until contacted by the Jets communications staff.
"I didn't even look at (the video)," Ladd said via phone from his B.C. home. "I didn't think I had favourited it, but I checked and I guess I accidentally favourited it, so I unfavourited it and I went back to working out.
"I understand that people might make a big deal about it or talk about it. It's a pretty dead time of year and that's what happens when you play hockey in Canada and in a market like Winnipeg. I'll have a chuckle about it and hopefully everyone can just laugh and move on."
Ladd is somewhat active on Twitter but he's not a serial user.
"I check it," he said. "If I'm bored I'll just mess around with it and check things out, but I don't use it a whole lot."
With the Jets' off-season activity, or lack of it, the subject of this incident and a hot topic for many Jets fans this summer, Ladd was asked for his opinion on the team's approach since last April.
"I think (Mathieu) Perreault is going to add a lot to our third line," Ladd said of the centre who was signed by the team as a free agent on July 1. "Olli (Jokinen, now in Nashville) did a great job the last couple of years but we needed to someone to fill that void. We got a young kid that's probably looking for a little more opportunity, too, and that's always exciting to add a guy like that.
"Beyond that, I think that the way we finished at the end of the year -- and I know we tried to do more in free agency -- I think if anyone watched the last 10 or 15 games, we were a completely different team than we were at the start of the year. Maybe our record didn't indicate it but there were a lot of games where we should have won but didn't, because we didn't put the puck in the net."
Ladd suggested that those who are concerned with the lack of wholesale summer changes to the Jets roster are selling short the new energy the team experienced until head coach Paul Maurice, who took over last January.
"I think there was a new confidence just having Paul in there and looking at teammates' confidence in him and what we can do playing that way," Ladd said. "But we didn't make the playoffs either and at the end of the day, it's up to the players in the off-season to use that time in the right way to get better and stronger and use it in different ways to try to help the team because inevitably, it's out of our control what those off-season moves are anyway."
Looking ahead to training camp, which begins in mid-September, Ladd said that while a good sign, any excitement over the team's depth of prospects is unlikely to filter in to the main roster's approach.
"I don't think you're going into the year banking on young kids to make a difference every year," said Ladd, who will be in Winnipeg next week for the Special Olympics fund-raising golf tournament at Glendale Golf and Country Club. "You're not going to have a Jacob Trouba come in and make a team in his first year, his first training camp, and have the impact he did. That's not realistic. That takes a special player to do that.
"Look at the best teams and best organizations in the league. They take their time with their young players. As a young player, you want to get there as quick as possible and you want to have an impact right away but I spent the first two or three years of my career playing on the fourth line, playing two to eight minutes a game and it took me two years beyond that just to get the confidence back to handle the puck and put the puck in the net.
"So I think our organization has a great grasp on where guys need to develop and how. I think as players we understand that, too, and that it takes time. And that it's on us right now."
Tuesday's Twitter incident had some similarities to one in June, just before the NHL's entry draft, when trade speculation was rampant and Jets left-winger Evander Kane favourited a tweet, then unfavourited it later in the day. The tweet in question was from a Philadelphia Flyers fan endorsing the idea that Flyers GM Ron Hextall should trade for Kane.