With the Regular Season over, it officially marks the begining of a whole new season – Season in Review Season. A favourite time of year for navel gazers, it allows writers and readers alike to look back on things that we may or may not have remembered, all while allowing the moment we’re currenty living in to pass through our fingers as we recall times gone by. It’s hilarious, actually. It is in that spirit that I push aside my current responsibilites and present to you my Winnipeg Jets season in review.
May 16, 2012: The Young Stars Tournament in Pentiction, the prospect tournament that Jets participated and techincally debuted in the previous year, is cancelled – an ominous sign of things to come. Not only did it prove that all the talk of Labour trouble may be more than idle threats, it crushed my opportunity to visit family, go to the beach, and watch future NHL’ers for under $20 in one fell swoop. It meant no Mark Scheifele, no Adam Lowry; no sea-doo’s or giant family sized dinners. I was pissed.
June 22, 2012: The NHL entry draft is held in Pittsburgh, while I’m in St. John’s, eating deep fried cod tongue and drinking like I have a serious problem, or, as Newfoundlanders call it, having a weekend. I’ve been a fan of the Draft since 1988, when the Jets draft a dude named Selanne, whom I mistake as ‘Salami’, my at-the-time favorite lunch meat. A lifelong obsession is born. Similarly to that 1988 draft, as this one rolls around, I don’t yet own an internet phone, so I ask the manager of the Club I’m playing to let me use her office computer for imporant business purposes. She relunctantly agrees. I go to her office, close the door, go online, and watch the Jets select Jacob Trouba with the 9th overall pick. I convince myself that he’s a sure bet to become the next Scott Stevens, logoff, deliver an inspired performance, then drink excessively. I was pissed!
September 15, 2012: The Lockout is announced. I’m generally an optimist (which is key for a Jet fan) and thought this whole fiasco would be avoided somehow. "These jerks can’t possibly allow this lockout to drag on for that long" I think.
October 29th 2012: It becomes clear to me that the lockout will last for a considerable amount of time.
December 4 2012: I return to WInnipeg for some shows, one of which happens to be only 3 blocks away from the MTS Centre. I hadn’t seen the building since the Jets were back, so I decide to brave the insanity that is Winnipeg winter and walk to the Arena to make my pilgrimage. Like a kid at a toy store, I touch the windows and wide-eyedly peer into the building, full of amazement. My hands almost freeze. "Any day now this lockout will be over" I theorize.
December 14, 2012: Between talk of Disclaimers of Interest, Class Action Suits, and having to watch Nick Kypreos get mad in a studio designed to look like a conference room for one too many nights, I lose my mind. Hockey coverage should consist of borderline legal body checks, not boardroom legal labour talk. It begins to appear that these jerks can in fact allow this lockout to drag on for a long time, and I am full of rage, and off for the Holidays.
Around 2:00am, January 6th, 2013: My twitter feed quickly changes from lame new years resolution jokes to news that an agreement is very near to end the NHL lockout. Unconfimred reports than arise that a deal is done, and not long after, Gary Bettman and Don Fehr emerge from a New York hotel and announce on live TV in the dead of night that a deal has in fact been struck. Alone with my joy, I contemplate waking up my girlfriend to share the great news, but between her not caring one single iota about hockey and her tendency to be significantly less than pleased me with me when I wake her in the middle of the night to ramble on about any topic, I quietly fist pump the air and declare that there is hope for the year 2013.
January 19th, 2013: As fate should have it, I find myself in the Okanagan that weekend, and able to watch the Jets first game of the season with family. If revenge is a dish a best served cold, vindication is a dish best served full of hot burgers in front of the Television. The Jets lose 4-1 to Ottawa. With the season underway, and the Jets in the loss column, all feels right in the universe once again.
January 27th, 2013: I apply to write for JetsNation. You see, when the Jets left town in 1996, self-respecting Jets fans refused to cheer for the Coyotes. It would be like high-fiving some dude as he bragged to you about how hard and often he satisfied your ex girlfriend that you still dearly loved. As such, Jets fans were collectively forced to find a new team in which to place their hopes. Seeing as I had just moved to Calgary at the time, I found it a natural fit to cheer for the Flames, and spent years loving them well. Wanting to be the best informed fan I could, I began to read FlamesNation on a daily basis awhile back. So imagine my surprise when, avoiding the work I dearly needed to do that day, I visit FlamesNation and see that they’re looking for JetsNation writers. Theorizing that this could be my chance to watch Jets Hockey under the guise of ‘work’ rather than ‘slacking off’, I apply.
February 13th, 2013: The Jets acquire Eric Tangradi from the Pittsburgh Penguins. For any other team, this would not be noteworthy, but for a team that makes signifigant roster movement about as often as I wake up before 8am, this is considered exciting news.
February 27th, 2013: I find myself on a long drive with someone I’d never met, and to that point, someone with whom I had 0 connection with. It was a quiet drive. Naturally, I bury myself in my phone and kill any remaining chance of conversation. During that time, somewhere in northern Alberta between Grande Prairie and Edmonton, an email comes in, informing me that the Nations bosses have selected me to write for this very website. Excited, I almost talk to the dude in the car, but opt not to.
March 2nd, 2013: Knee-deep in a terrible hangover, I force myself awake in time to watch a mid-afternoon game between the Jets and Capitals on HNIC in my intentionally dimly lit hotel room. The Jets at this point have won 5 of 6 and are now signifigantly moreso in the playoff race than the Seth Jones sweepstakes. Despite needing more sleep to ease my brain and body pain, I soilder on and remain awake, convinced this is where the team takes yet another step forward. Naturally, the Jets lose 3-0 in an effort so lackluster I wonder why I even bothered to wake up so early.
March 19/20, 2013: More misery with the Capitals. The Jets lose back-to-back home games to Washington – badly – being outscored 10-1 in the process. Before these games, I had just completed the amazing transition from Lottery pick dreaming to being thorougly convinced the Jets would win the Division. I curse myself for feeling hope.
April 3rd, 2013: Trade deadline day, and predictably, Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Jets stand idle, surprising nobody.
April 20th, 2013: The Jets, once again, are showing signs of serious life, winning 5 in a row. A massive game against the Islanders is played, one they need to win if they realisitically hope to make the playoffs. Sadly, they lose a spirited effort in a shootout. I come to realize it’s rather unlikely now that they’ll make the playoffs. Luckily, it happens to be 4/20, so I find myself surprisingly unbothered by the result roughy 6 minutes after the game ends.
April 25th, 2013: One last hope. In order for the Jets to make the playoffs, they must win their last game of the season against Montreal, and hope for a litany of events to unfold in their favour: the Rangers must lose, the Senators must lose, and Jupiter must be in exact alignment with the moon in the eastern sky – but only if there’s no clouds. Much must go right. Naturally, nothing goes the Jets way, and the season ends with Jets on the outside of the playoff picture.
April 30th, 2013: More chance for hope! The draft lottery is held. The Jets have a .8% chance of winning the lottery, which is signifigantly better than the odds of being struck by lightning. Having known 2 people that have been struck by lighting (no joke!) I find myself comforted by the odds. The Jets do not win the lottery, which gets me to thinking just how lucky those 2 buddy’s of mine were for getting lightning’d.
May 2nd, 2013: Exactly 1 week after the regular season ends for the Jets, I finish my season in review article, though in fairness I began writing it earlier this week. Pleased with myself for doing what took some Hockey writers only a day to accomplish, I turn my computer off and decide that’s enough work for today.
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