It’s only been 13 days since our Winnipeg Jets have officially returned as a part of the NHL.
After a 5-1 home opening loss to the Montreal Canadiens, few fans could care about an 0-1 record to start the season.
Heck, half the league’s teams start off that way anyways.
Then came a close 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks and their backup goalie 4-3 during their first road game.
Whatever, first road game is always the toughest – playing in front of the other team’s crowd for the first time in a season, nerves probably got the better of them.
One more loss on the road for good measure – 4-1 in Phoenix to the ex-Jets (a game they were never a part of really) – and then there started popping out of the woodwork panic buttons.
Wait a minute, Pittsburgh is coming to town sans Crosby et Malkin – we’ve got this.
Jets win first game, at home no less, 2-1.
OK, well don’t we look stupid with our panic buttons and such, we’re good, here comes the wins.
Then back to the road – up 3-1 in Toronto – down 4-3 in Toronto.
And then way down 4-1 in Ottawa.
Don’t even dare grab a panic button.
Sunday will mark the first two weeks of Winnipeg being back in the bigs – the NHL.
Understandably, Winnipeg sports fans, hockey fans, and Jets fans are hungry to see a winning team.
And they want to have one right now.
But you’ll just have to stow away any high and lofty expectations for now because the Jets are not anywhere near the talent level of a Chicago or a Pittsburgh yet.
GM Kevin Cheveldayoff continues to advise patience to Jets fans and the media.
Speaking with TSN 1290, Cheveldayoff put it very bluntly saying: "This isn’t fantasy hockey. You can’t call up your buddy and say, ‘Hey, this will be fun, let’s do it.’ Every move that you make has both short-term and long-term ramifications that will have a ripple effect throughout the organization, not only for the now, but for the future."
"Just to think that you pack up your bags and move a couple thousand miles north into a hockey-crazy market is going to turn a team from a (seventh-last) place finisher into an automatic contender – it doesn’t just work that way."
Add to the hockey mad mix the demands and expectations of seventh overall pick Mark Scheifele to follow in the footsteps of ex-Jet great and his own former OHL coach in Barrie Dale Hawerchuk and the pot may begin to boil over.
True North and their executive team have made an informed and critical decision when it comes to the aspects of Winnipeg and its Jets being back in the NHL.
Patience is key.
"If you look at the organization, it has some good young pieces. Ask anyone and I think they’ll agree, after six games they’ve seen some good things out of some young players. But they’ve seen some inconsistencies out of some young players and some veteran players as well." Cheveldayoff added.
Despite the conjectures, hopes, and demands of fans, Cheveldayoff added: "I love the fact that the fans think that and hope that, and I hope they never lose the passion for that because that’s what drives everything."
So sure we have one of the most rabid and informed fan bases in the sport as well as one of the best management and ownership groups in the league.
My advice to fans at this juncture is to be passionate and be vocal about how great the Jets are and what they mean to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada.
But remember, be patient and this team could be a contender two to three years down the road.
Patience Jets fans.