Thoughts of parade not scoffed at

Should know by Christmas how high Jets will fly

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As the Winnipeg Jets soar near the top of the National Hockey League standings, I thought I’d throw out some thoughts that come to mind regarding the team and league:

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/11/2017 (1826 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As the Winnipeg Jets soar near the top of the National Hockey League standings, I thought I’d throw out some thoughts that come to mind regarding the team and league:

1. I figure it’ll be Christmas before I’ll know whether the Jets are a just a playoff team — or a team that can do some serious damage come playoff time.

However, I can’t help but look back and fondly remember what it was like to hoist the Avco Cup in 1979 with the World Hockey Association Jets. A similar parade through Portage and Main is not being scoffed at anymore, due to the Jets’ current performance and their legitimate hopes for the future.

John Woods / The Canadian Press Files Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba is being criticized by some Jets fans who only seem interested in calling out every little detail they don’t like about his game.

2. What followed that parade was the Jets 1.0’s entry into the NHL, which happened that summer as their greedy owners stripped the Jets of many key players from that championship team.

I remember a poll of NHL scouts that rated that WHA club very highly as far as where they’d finish in the league if the team had been kept together.

3. That WHA-NHL agreement was called a merger, but when I look at what the Vegas Golden Knights had to choose from in their expansion draft it shows how far the NHL has come. Paying half a billion dollars for a franchise deserves a decent club, and they got that.

I’m still a bit skeptical as to how long they can sustain their current success, but so far it’s one heck of a story.

4. Social media has its characters, and the Golden Knights have a brash, edgy Twitter account that entertains yet can push some people the wrong way. That’s pretty much the staple of enterprising accounts and while not the norm, I kind of enjoy it most days.

5. The Jets had some problems dealing with another quick-skating team in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

This isn’t new — it’s happened a few times this year.

While the Jets have a few players who can get to top speed in a couple of steps, there are plenty who need more time to get rolling.

I often hear “the Jets are off a bit” when encountering this style of club — sometimes the opponent is just quicker overall.

The Jets had some good spurts through the game, but were definitely a bit behind getting to pucks and position far too often.

6. Jets defenceman Ben Chiarot pasted Jets nemesis Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks with a butt-end to the chin last Friday. This resulted in a Go Fund Me campaign launched by Jets fan, and Twitter favourite, Kyle Klatt.

This was intended to “supposedly” pay Chiarot’s fine from the NHL (US$3,763.44) for his stick work. What it meant was that the money would go to Winnipeg’s Christmas Cheer Fund in Chiarot’s name.

The initial concept was fuelled by Jets fans’ hatred of Perry, but developed into a terrific fundraiser to help children in need. At last count, the fund was above $4,400.

7. There are some fans who seem to look for any little thing Jacob Trouba does wrong and then immediately go after him for it.

“Trouba doesn’t want to play here, you can see it by his body language.” “Trouba doesn’t want it, he obviously wants out.” “He didn’t celebrate enough on that goal, he doesn’t care.”

These comments go on and on and are probably from the same fans who said “Let him rot” last year when he didn’t sign a contract in the pre-season.

That’s a tough crowd, but their “evidence” is lacking in substance.

To suggest he’d lessen his trade value (if that’s what he wanted) by not trying or caring would be counter-intuitive to his goals.

I don’t know what’s in Trouba’s head, but that doesn’t make sense.

8. The Jets are running out one of the league’s best power-play units, which matches expectations with this talented group.

Switching up designs on bringing the puck up the ice has helped them gain easier access to the opposition zone — and they’ve been able to find the right seams once they get there.

Having multiple triggermen doesn’t hurt.

However, I wonder if more teams will try pressuring them, such as in San Jose during Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Sharks or against Colorado.

The Sharks pushed the Jets to spots where it was easy to apply pressure — and obviously succeeded, scoring a short-handed goal to top it off.

If I was facing the Jets, I’d go after them and force them to make a sequence of passes under pressure, rather than stand around waiting until they find the holes they need.

9. The Jets, meanwhile, are one of those passive penalty-killing teams. I’ve said it a few times here — allowing the opposition to blast away while keeping the initial shots out of the highest-danger areas is a dangerous game in its own right.

My problem with it is they’re depending on always getting the right bounce on the rebound and ensuring there’s no effective deflection while throwing themselves in front of shots.

They had a stretch of good bounces. But lately, not so much — leaving them sitting 23rd in the NHL after Wednesday’s games.

Maybe head coach Paul Maurice is going to unshackle them a bit as they move forward.

The way the Jets have handled adversity this year has been impressive and the hills and valleys in a season are expected.

Thankfully, folding their tent and crumbling before us appears to be a thing of the past.

Chosen ninth overall by the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and first overall by the WHA’s Houston Aeros in 1977, Scott Campbell has now been drafted by the Winnipeg Free Press to play a new style of game.

Twitter: @NHL_Campbell

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.

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