It is a feeling all too familiar in the city of Winnipeg.
For the past two seasons, the Jets have come oh-so-close to making the playoffs, but have fallen short both years, leaving players and fans watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs from their couch. As the team heads into the 2013-14 regular season’s final stretch, the main goal has to be in mind, or everyone around the Jets faces the same terrible feelings that come with falling short of their goals.
I would know, because just yesterday, that happened to me.
Sneaking into the WHSHL playoffs on the final weekend, my team, the Crocus Plainsmen, knew we had put ourselves in a tough spot. Losses to the wrong teams at the wrong time left us facing the top-ranked team in the entire league, a tall order if we were to repeat the championship season we had the year previous.
Game One of the three-game series wasn’t a great start. A 4-0 loss on the road left us with a week to worry, and feel the crush that comes along with a pending elimination game.
That game finally came, and on Saturday night, we snuck away with an over-time win at home to even the series.
It was back to work just 24 hours later, in the series-deciding match. One team would leave the ice for the final time, while the other would move one step closer to a league title.
Unfortunately, the cards would not fall in our favor, as our season was ended with a 2-1 loss.
The reason I’m telling you this is because our team knew we deserved better, and Jets fans should feel no different.
The Jets have faced lots of tough times this season, but their fans have been there for them through it all. 15,004 of the best fans in the NHL have packed the MTS Centre at every home game, and some brave souls have even supported the Jets in enemy territory. Players like Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele, and Michael Frolik have given us fans hope for the future of the team, and thanks to Paul Maurice and the team’s recent hot streak before the Olympic break, the once-bleak opportunity for a post-season appearance has grown to a tantalizing possibility.
The Jets need to bring playoff hockey back to the great city of Winnipeg, something that we haven’t seen since April 28th, 1996. For some of us, myself included, post-season hockey has just been another story told by older folk, (I was born more than a year after that fateful day).
Everyone knows that the playoffs are only the first step towards the ultimate goal. After the Jets punch their ticket to the dance, 16 wins stand between them and the finish line, winning the Stanley Cup. Winning the Cup in 2014 may sound like a bad joke to a Jets fan, but anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, just ask the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.
The Jets have 22 games to finish what they started in mid-January. This revival is only half-way over, and Winnipeg will have to continue to hang around, and defeat, the NHL’s best teams in Chicago, St. Louis, and Anaheim, or they risk the awful feeling that falling short brings.
GO JETS GO!
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Tags: Winnipeg Jets