Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell

Columnist

Scott was a member of Winnipeg Jets 1.0 for a couple of seasons and also played for the WHA Jets team that won the last Avco Cup in 1978-79.

The former first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues (1977) is an avid follower of Jets 2.0 and has penned a number of yarns for winnipeghockeytalk.com and is known within the Twitter crowd for his candid assessment of the Jets and the NHL.

Scott has now been drafted by the Winnipeg Free Press to play a new style of game.

Recent articles of Scott Campbell

A sudden end to a special season, a solid future

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A sudden end to a special season, a solid future

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, May. 24, 2018

It was stunning how quickly the Winnipeg Jets were disposed of by the Vegas Golden Knights.

I'm not shocked that Vegas won, though I predicted the Jets would win the series. It’s more that it took only five games.

I predicted the battle could be a long one for a couple of reasons, and under those conditions, it doesn’t take much to swing a series like this one way or the other.

My two big concerns were that Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury would continue at the lights-out pace he’d been playing at and that the team might maintain its “play fast” game at such a consistent level.

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Thursday, May. 24, 2018

JOHN WOODS/ WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILESWinnipeg Jets salute their fans after losing game five and the NHL Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg on Sunday, May 20, 2018.

Despite going down in series, there's no need to panic -- yet

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Despite going down in series, there's no need to panic -- yet

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, May. 17, 2018

The Winnipeg Jets have some serious work to do.

Scanning social media after Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the Golden Knights, which gives Vegas a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Final, its appears Jets fans have had their confidence shaken a bit. The cliff-jumpers are going a bit far, in my opinion.

There were bad signs, however, before the game even started.

Nikolaj Ehlers surprisingly was ruled out, and fourth-liner Brandon Tanev was inserted in his place alongside Paul Stastny and Patrik Laine.

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Thursday, May. 17, 2018

David Becker / The Associated Press files
While forward Mark Scheifele has been flying in the playoffs, the Jets are going to need production from other players if they are going to get past Vegas.

Surprising Knights won’t go quietly, but skill, depth will take Jets to promised land

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Surprising Knights won’t go quietly, but skill, depth will take Jets to promised land

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Friday, May. 11, 2018

So, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne opened the door and the Winnipeg Jets shut it tight.

With the Jets jumping into a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period of Thursday night's Game 7, it took away any chance the Predators could drop into their neutral-zone clogging system, something that had caused the Jets problems throughout the series. It also ended Rinne’s night in net.

In my series preview, I said Jets Connor Hellebuyck was every bit as good as Rinne but in this series he was volumes better. His 36 saves in Game 7 put an exclamation mark on it.

While both are Vezina Trophy finalists, it was Hellebuyck’s quiet style over Rinne’s sometimes unpredictable manner that sold me.

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Friday, May. 11, 2018

Vegas Golden Knights players hug after a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks during Game 6 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series, Sunday, May 6, 2018, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Winnipeg can learn from Nashville

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Winnipeg can learn from Nashville

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Friday, May. 4, 2018

I wasn’t particularly surprised by the Winnipeg Jets’ 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Thursday night.

While I laid out the reasons last week why I thought the Jets would win the series, I also said I expected some turbulence along the way.

It’s been a bumpy ride.

Even though the Jets won Game 1, they were dominated on the shot clock and in offensive-zone time. Heading into Game 2, I looked for more from them than just sitting back and depending on their scoring talent to win.

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Friday, May. 4, 2018

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Nashville Predators' P.K. Subban celebrates his goal against the Winnipeg Jets' as Dustin Byfuglien looks at the scoreboard during the second period of game four in Winnipeg on Thursday.

Jets have edge over Predators in goal and overall forward talent

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Jets have edge over Predators in goal and overall forward talent

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018

Well, finally, they’re going to drop the darn puck and let the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators get at it.

The six days of healing that the Jets earned by ousting the Minnesota Wild in five games looks like it’ll be worth the wait.

Of course, the Predators will have something to say about this.

Let’s take a look at the top two clubs in the National Hockey League and see it we can find something that will swing the series in one team’s favour.

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Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) during practice at Bell MTS place Wednesday morning.

Minnesota’s best likely not enough

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Minnesota’s best likely not enough

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018

The verbal jousting between Paul Maurice and Bruce Boudreau has dominated the days between Games 4 and 5 of their teams’ opening-round playoff series.

When I look at the good and bad moments in the Winnipeg Jets-Minnesota Wild series, comments by the two head coaches were triggered by a bad situation — the Josh Morrissey cross-check to Eric Staal’s neck.

Morrissey’s suspension for tonight’s Game 5 just made things a lot more difficult for the Jets. He’s been rock-solid and leaves a huge hole, considering the tough minutes he plays.

He deserved the suspension. While you might point to some Wild transgressions as being worthy of a phone conversation with the NHL’s player safety department, that doesn’t change that they got this one right.

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Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018

Anthony Souffle / Minneapolis Star Tribune files
Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau says a missed penalty call during Tuesday’s Game 4 cost his team the game.

Rest of Jets-Wild series unlikely to deviate much from Game 1

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Rest of Jets-Wild series unlikely to deviate much from Game 1

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018

“It’s only one game” is something we’ll hear a lot during the NHL playoffs — although it’s a lot more satisfying to say it after a win, as the Winnipeg Jets did after Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their opening-round series.

However, the first contest can help set a tone for a series, so let’s take a look at how some of my biggest concerns and expectations stacked up against the realities of Game 1.

The Jets have been excellent in a lot of areas this year, so my biggest worry going into the series was how well the Wild would attack the left side of the Jets’ defence, particularly Ben Chiarot and Joe Morrow.

Chiarot can get on a bit of a roll, as we’ve seen over the years. Morrow has had some decent moments in his brief stint, but in the past they’ve both been players who, at some point, revert back to what they are, seventh defencemen.

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Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg Jets' Patrik Laine (29) celebrates after scoring on Minnesota Wild's goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) during third period NHL playoff action, Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Jets need to get into playoff mode now

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Jets need to get into playoff mode now

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, Apr. 5, 2018

Despite winning nine of their last 10 games, the Winnipeg Jets should be looking at their final two contests as a great opportunity to tighten up their game a bit.

Last week, I wrote about head coach Paul Maurice giving players a rest and yet needing to keep the cohesion and confidence this team has displayed all year.

After a couple of somewhat sloppy wins against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens while resting a number of players, it looks like we'll see them ice a full squad for the final games.

Their play has been a little loose over the last while, so it's time to get into playoff mode. Teams that have a lot of playoff experience know full well they can't just flip a switch that cranks everybody up a notch.

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Thursday, Apr. 5, 2018

GENE J. PUSKAR / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Head coach Paul Maurice talks with Matt Hendricks (right) on the bench during the first period against the Penguins.

Rest, chemistry need to be balanced as Jets regular season winds down

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Rest, chemistry need to be balanced as Jets regular season winds down

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, Mar. 29, 2018

The Winnipeg Jets' thrilling shootout win over the Nashville Predators last weekend had NHL fans and media drooling over the thought of a playoff series between the clubs.

However, it might be tougher getting to that point than some think.

Almost everyone in hockey will have the same answer if they’re asked about how much playoff experience means in a series: if their team has a lot of it, it’s important; if it doesn’t, they might grudgingly admit it might matter a bit, if at all.

I’ve been in the latter camp for a while — there’s something to it, but I think it’s overrated. Most teams gain experience these days growing together, and once you’ve won a Stanley Cup, you’ve got lots of it.

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Thursday, Mar. 29, 2018

Winnipeg Jets' Brandon Tanev (13) celebrates his second goal of the game against the Boston Bruins during second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Goaltending, special teams what sets Jets apart from Leafs

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Goaltending, special teams what sets Jets apart from Leafs

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018

The Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs are two young National Hockey League teams that — for at least a couple of reasons — will be tied together for a long time.

It’s been more than a year since I compared the two organizations and boy, what a difference a season makes.

Back then, both clubs were filled with terrific young talent, but the Leafs were flourishing using a high-octane offence that was able to outscore their mistakes. It took the Washington Capitals six games to finish them off in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Jets never got it together when it counted — they could score, but had far too many holes in their armour.

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Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The top two picks at the NHL draft in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2016, Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets, left, and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, were also the top two contenders for the Calder Trophy in their rookie seasons. The two players will be likely be compared to each other for many seasons to come.

Critics a tad rough on Buff despite a season of mostly right stuff

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Critics a tad rough on Buff despite a season of mostly right stuff

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018

In past seasons it was often stated that Dustin Byfuglien was the straw that stirred the Winnipeg Jets drink — a central figure in both good and bad times.

This season has been a bit different, with Connor Hellebuyck and Blake Wheeler leading the way from the start. The big defenceman has adjusted his style of play to fit in with a group that’s proven, when healthy, to be a serious Stanley Cup contender.

While we know he’s still a huge factor in the dressing room, we have also seen his play significantly evolve this year — mostly in a positive way.

Oddly, that’s not enough for a number of naysayers, who seem to pop up in force every time he’s involved in an event that goes against the Jets.

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Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien might just be playing some of the best hockey of his career right now.

Hobbled Jets scrappy survivors, but health crucial to playoff success

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Hobbled Jets scrappy survivors, but health crucial to playoff success

Scott Campbell  6 minute read Thursday, Mar. 8, 2018

The Winnipeg Jets have been in survival mode for a while now — and will remain there until some injured parties get back in the lineup.

Valued members of that cavalry are returning — defenceman Toby Enstrom played Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils — and others are close; it can’t be soon enough. Of course, the seriousness of No. 1 centre Mark Scheifele’s upper-body troubles will factor here, but the team needs to make some improvements if its going to make a decent run in the playoffs.

The club you’ve been watching lately just might win an opening-round playoff series if goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stands on his head. But the Jets wouldn’t last long against the Nashville Predators in the next series, despite being right with them in a 6-5 loss last week. One-off games are not like a playoff battle.

The three-game winning streak heading into the Devils game — against teams that would need miraculous finishes to make the playoffs — has seen them work hard, but struggle with parts of their game.

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Thursday, Mar. 8, 2018

Defenceman Toby Enstrom will return to the lineup tonight after missing the past four games with a lower-body injury. (Trevor Hagan / Free Press files)

Jets in position to make some noise

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Jets in position to make some noise

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018

The acquisition of Paul Stastny on Monday from the St. Louis Blues has kept Winnipeg Jets fans buzzing all week.

By bringing him in, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff sent a clear message to fans, players and coaches — he believes this team has what it takes to make a long run in the playoffs. He obviously wouldn’t give up a prized first-round pick if he didn’t.

Two weeks ago, I stated my preference for a skilled centre to be added, mentioning Ottawa Senator Derick Brassard and Montreal Canadien Tomas Plekanec as possibilities. While Cheveldayoff reportedly tried hard to land them, his failure there led to the Stastny acquisition.

Like almost everybody, I was shocked he was available.

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Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg's NHL trade deadline acquisition Paul Stastny is a perfect fit for the Jets.

Trading for playoff toughness a mistake Jets GM shouldn’t make

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Trading for playoff toughness a mistake Jets GM shouldn’t make

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018

Despite the Winnipeg Jets' excellent season, it appears some fans are looking for more physical play when it comes to their favourite team.

The rumblings started after the Jets' shootout loss to a “heavy” Anaheim Ducks team on Jan. 25 and increased after losses to the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings this month. The latter two clubs are also known for their physical play.

This debate about whether or not the Jets need to add some toughness to their lineup before Monday’s trade deadline has ramped up even with hitters like Adam Lowry, Brandon Tanev and Jacob Trouba — currently out of the lineup — likely to return in plenty of time for the playoffs.

And there are no guarantees injuries will come to a halt.

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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018

Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba (8) celebrates his goal against the New Jersey Devils during the second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Saturday, November 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Jets should beef up lineup before trade deadline

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Jets should beef up lineup before trade deadline

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

The NHL’s trade deadline is looming and the Winnipeg Jets have a few options, but only one that I like — go for it!

I don’t say that without serious thought, as the other options can certainly be defended.

The Jets could stand pat with a lineup that’s battling for first place in the Central Division and point to the thriving depth the team possesses.

Why give up future assets to possibly improve their odds of winning the Stanley Cup? After all, the Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals flopped last year after spending large to acquire big-name players.

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Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Mats Zuccarello dives for the puck during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. (Karl B DeBlaker / Associated Press files)

Put Wheeler back in right-wing spot

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Put Wheeler back in right-wing spot

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

With all the excitement about Mark Scheifele likely returning to the Winnipeg Jets lineup tonight, it brings up the question of what to do when all the team’s centres get healthy.

Should Blake Wheeler return to his regular right-wing spot or stay in the middle, where he’s been since Scheifele went down in late December?

The old adage about icing a squad that’s strong down the middle being the best way to build a championship team has a number of fans believing Wheeler should stay at centre.

With everyone healthy — Matt Hendricks and Adam Lowry are currently out — the Jets could have Scheifele, Wheeler, Bryan Little and Lowry as their pivots. No doubt, an enviable group.

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Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele at practice today at MTS Bell Place. Mark Scheifele may return to the Winnipeg Jets lineup Friday night.

Jets taking the good with the bad

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Jets taking the good with the bad

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018

The true stretch drive got underway this week and the Winnipeg Jets got it going with a well-deserved win over the National Hockey League’s top team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, showing once again why the Jets are legitimately in a battle for top spot in their division, their conference and perhaps the league.

It hasn’t, however, been an easy road for them.

The NHL’s all-star festival last weekend was supposed to be a fun time for players and fans, but Jets disciples had both good and bad news come out of it.

Getting Connor Hellebuyck and Blake Wheeler back home safe was the first order of business and they managed to enjoy their well-deserved trip free of injury.

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Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba (left) will be out for six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain leaving his blue-line partner Josh Morrissey (centre) to play with another teammate.

Hard-hitting Jets who deserve a little more love

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Hard-hitting Jets who deserve a little more love

Scott Campbell  6 minute read Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018

Connor Hellebuyck and Blake Wheeler are heading to the NHL all-star weekend, while their Winnipeg Jets teammates enjoy a few days off.

Some players aren’t talked about much, but deserve recognition for their contributions to the team’s successful season. I’ll get to those individuals in a bit.

Prior to Thursday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, Hellebuyck was cruising along with a .924 save percentage and has been a brick wall on most nights.

His excellent positioning has the opposition shooting wide or high often. When they do hit the target, he makes great saves look ordinary.

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Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018

John Woods / The Canadian Press files
Winnipeg’s Andrew Copp’s penalty killing has cemented himself in the Jets lineup with his overall improvement.

Jets players meeting expectations in mid-season report card

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Jets players meeting expectations in mid-season report card

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018

With the Winnipeg Jets currently enjoying their NHL-mandated break, I thought I’d revisit my pre-season expectations of each player and see whether they’ve met or exceeded those beliefs.

I originally did this after the Jets passed the quarter point of the season and I’ll put that grade next to their name and see whether it needs to be changed at this point.

I’m moving some from their “expectations” group as well.

My comments contain their new grade, and take into consideration their special teams and even strength play. Skaters had to play in half the games (23) to make this list.

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Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018

Jeff Wheeler / Minneapolis Star Tribune Files
Rookie Kyle Connor sits third in Jets goals with 15 and earned another B+.

Maurice moves to the good side of average as Jets soar in first half

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Maurice moves to the good side of average as Jets soar in first half

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018

If the Winnipeg Jets continue to roll along at their current pace they’ll shatter their franchise record 99-point regular season performance from the 2014-15 season.

The head coach that year was current bench boss Paul Maurice, yet Winnipeg fans have remained divided on whether he’s a good, bad or average National Hockey League coach.

The Jets two poor seasons since that post-season rush have helped fuel the discussion.

For me, the top coaches get their rating by guiding a team to many winning seasons, establishing optimal control of a team. They need their clubs to spend more time in the offensive zone than their opponents do and can’t be depending on incredible goaltending or puck luck.

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Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg Jets' head coach Paul Maurice on the bench while playing the Dallas Stars' during second period NHL action in Dallas, Monday, November 6, 2017.

Jets ready for playoff takeoff

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Jets ready for playoff takeoff

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018

Despite their early-season success, I chose to wait and see how the Winnipeg Jets fared during the 15 games of December before deciding whether this club had what it takes to do some damage in the playoffs.

Their schedule offered up a number of challenges. Their response told me what I needed to know.

My pre-season prediction in this space was that they’d make the playoffs, but I couldn’t decide if they’d be the first or last qualifier from the Central Division — it looked that tight.

They started December with home wins over the Vegas Golden Knights (7-4) and Ottawa Senators (5-0).

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Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files
The Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele (right) was injured during a Dec. 27 game against the Edmonton Oilers. He’s expected to be fresh for a long playoff run when he comes back.

Scheifele’s injury a 2017 lowlight

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Scheifele’s injury a 2017 lowlight

Scott Campbell 5 minute read Friday, Dec. 29, 2017

With 2017 winding down, it’s time to reflect on some of the good and bad things that happened within the Winnipeg Jets organization during the year.

The Bad

1) It was almost a year ago (Jan. 7) when Buffalo Sabres defenceman Jake McCabe laid rookie Patrik Laine out cold on the ice with a bodycheck that shook Jets nation.

While he returned in less than three weeks time, there were many nervous days for Winnipeg fans as he recovered from a concussion.

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Friday, Dec. 29, 2017

With 2017 winding down, it’s time to reflect on some of the good and bad things that happened within the Winnipeg Jets organization during the year.

The Bad

1) It was almost a year ago (Jan. 7) when Buffalo Sabres defenceman Jake McCabe laid rookie Patrik Laine out cold on the ice with a bodycheck that shook Jets nation.

While he returned in less than three weeks time, there were many nervous days for Winnipeg fans as he recovered from a concussion.

Chevy’s Xmas wish list includes a skilled forward

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Chevy’s Xmas wish list includes a skilled forward

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

While out buying presents I started wondering what gifts Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff may have in store for fans.

There’s a league-wide freeze on National Hockey League player movement from Dec. 20-27 but GM’s phones still work.

While they weren’t major deals, the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins made two trades on Dec. 19 to start the pre-deadline trade season off.

While the cutoff date is Feb.26, big deals are ahead — I wonder who will trigger the arms race?

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Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Winnipeg Jets' General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.

No point assigning blame, since all teams go through ups and downs

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No point assigning blame, since all teams go through ups and downs

Scott Campbell 6 minute read Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017

It’s rare that a National Hockey League team can avoid going through a “slump” at some point during the season. After all, even the best teams go through them.

At least a few Winnipeg Jets fans were mumbling the S-word after last week’s road trip, which saw them lose to the Detroit Red Wings 5-1, Florida Panthers 6-4 and Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime.

The grumbling stopped when the Jets beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Monday, and the panic buttons were put back in the drawer.

While the road trip was just a blip, there were signs that the Jets might be heading into a slump.

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Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017

Chris O’Meara / The Associated Press files
Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers celebrates a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. They lost 4-3 in overtime, which left them with an 0-2-1 record for their brief road trip.