Art Gallery – Picking Your Playoff Primer

On Wednesday, the NHL Playoffs start and for the fifth time in the last six seasons, they do so without the Winnipeg Jets.

But maybe you’re not done with watching hockey this season. Perhaps you have room in your heart for another team, you just don’t know who to pull for over the next few weeks to two months.

You know it should be a Canadian team though, because that is what we as a proud nation do. We root for the Canadian clubs because somehow they represent all of us even though there are a handful of American based teams that have a higher ratio of Canadian born players.

Hockey fans in Canada are a strange bunch.

Anyway, if you’re uncertain of who to throw your support behind, I now present a guide as each of the five Canadian teams left in the big dance and why you should and shouldn’t root for each of them.

Edmonton Oilers

Why you as a Jets fan should root for them:

Connor McDavid might be the best player now on the planet and is so much fun to watch.

Patrick Maroon’s nickname is “big rig” and based by his play on the ice, he comes by that nickname honestly. He also shed a few manly tears when he saw his kid’s reaction to him scoring and tried to quietly donate a few thousand bucks to a local dog rescue before the dog rescue went “holy crap Patrick Maroon gave money to help save doggies, we love that guy!” to which the rest of the city replied “holy crap, we love that guy too!”

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle will finally get to taste some playoff action even though Oiler fans and media have tried to trade both of them about a hundred times each over the last three years.

For Jets fans, they represent a light at the end of a tunnel. Even if you root for a woefully mismanaged for the better part of eight seasons hockey club, at some point they may get a franchise altering player that can almost single handed drag your team into post season play.

Why as a Jets fan you should root against them:

If you lived through any part of Jets 1.0, you simply shouldn’t be able to bring yourself to root for them.

Remember the Heritage Classic earlier in the season (ya know, the same one the Oilers came in and ruined by not letting Winnipeg win?) and how Dale Hawerchuk repeatedly said “Man, if it wasn’t for those Oilers we coulda been contenders” and Wayne Gretzky in response going “Yeah maybe, but did you really expect a to beat a team stacked with future hall of famers? Neener neener!”

At least I am pretty sure he said something like that. What a jerk.

Oiler fans are also going to be obnoxious. 10 years of not making the playoffs will justifiably make them hard to deal with now that they have some success, but let’s not forget they chose to support a directionless franchise that lucked into an all-world player to carry them.

Ottawa Senators

Why you as a Jets fan should root for them:

Much like the Jets, Ottawa gets overlooked by the rest of the country and the local hockey club is never really talked about, so there should be a bit of a kinship there.

They don’t have the strongest team and if you compare them to pretty much any other Eastern playoff team they aren’t going to rank better in any given category, but they also aren’t going to be much worse off than any other team. It’s a club that is just kinda “there” in the middle of the playoffs. Not appearing ready to set the world on fire, but not one you should feel safe betting against either.

The Sens could let you down quick in the first round, or take you on a run until May.

Why as a Jets fan you should root against them:

Remember when the Senators had that run to the Stanley Cup final but came up short?

No, you probably don’t. No one does. The Sens are largely a forgettable team. Why even bother rooting for them?

It should seem impossible that Canada has an irrelevant hockey team, but if there was one, it would be the Sens. Every other team in Canada is known for something at least somewhat interesting. A calling card of sorts. Not Ottawa.

If teams were flavors of ice cream, the Sens would be vanilla. No chocolate syrup added. No sprinkles. Just vanilla.

And vanilla is ok sure, and a staple of most freezers and largely agreeable with most people, but that’s the problem. Only strange people list vanilla as a favorite flavour and almost everyone else will pick something more adventurous if they have multiple better flavors in front of them.

Calgary Flames

Why you as a Jets fan should root for them:

In almost every way they are Oilers-lite with one less all-world superstar. A neat little collection of very good players who don’t get as much publicity as their neighbors to the north do. It’s pretty much the 80’s all over again in Calgary and who doesn’t love a good nostalgia act?

Michael Frolik plays for them. He was at one time a Winnipeg Jet and was the guy that Chevy looked at and said “ya know what, Drew Stafford is a better option.” Now Frolik is in Calgary and in the playoffs, Stafford is in Boston and in the playoffs and the Jets are not in the playoffs at all. It’s worked out very well.

Frolik’s nickname is also “Taters” and how may I ask do you root against someone with that kind of nickname

Plus we have that whole kinship as fans of a former Atlanta NHL team going for us. You’re probably already a member of the “Screw Atlanta, We Never Cared About Them Anyway” club that Flames established in 1980 and we joined in 2011.

Just a reminder by the way that yearly membership fees are due by the next meeting where our theme will be “How many ways can we try to forget Atlanta even had these teams and how do we steal the Braves from them next?” which of course is the theme for every meeting we have.

Why as a Jets fan you should root against them:

Of the two Alberta teams, you’re going to pick the Flames? Seriously?

That reason I said you shouldn’t root for the Oilers applies here in more than one way. The 1.0 Jets could never beat the Flames let alone the Oilers, but the kicker is the Flames could never really beat the Oilers either and there isn’t much to indicate they could take care of them in a seven game series in 2017.

Why subject yourself to being on the losing end of that?

Not to mention their chairman Ken King recently dropped the whole “give us a new multi billion dollar facility for our sporting teams or we may leave” bomb. They did this as Alberta was still facing maybe the worst economic downturn it’s had in over 40 years. This doesn’t make them any different from pretty much every other sports ownership group that has done the same thing, but still, screw ‘em.

Montreal Canadiens

Why you as a Jets fan should root for them:

It would make for a great story right? The last Canadian team to claim the Stanley Cup back in 1993 is the first Canadian team in 27 years to claim it again? Fun stuff right?

Why as a Jets fan you should root against them:

Seriously, that was the best and only I had as a reason to “root” for Montreal and it’s not a good one.

Two Stanley Cups won by Canadian teams in the span of 27 years and they both go to Montreal? They’ve won enough already haven’t they?

They traded away P.K. Subban who by all rights should be a national treasure at this point (but isn’t for *ahem* “reasons”).

If the Canadiens win a Cup, you can bet every Saturday night in the 2017-18 season, they’ll have a 30 minute long pre-game ceremony where they’ll honor the members of the legendary 2017 Cup winning Canadiens.

No thank-you to any of that.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Why you as a Jets fan should root for them:

For as much as I said the Oilers should provide inspiration, the Leafs are maybe a tad more relatable for Jets fans. Both clubs are led by a young core with dynamic forwards, both teams have defenses that maybe leave a little bit to be desired at times, and the goaltending has been a source of frustration. Jets fans should be able to follow this Leafs team and go “this could be our team some day if we can just get an all-world coach that would make all the difference”

Add to that, you just know that the Leafs making it to the post season means it’s going to be #BudsAllDay on TV, on social media, in the newspapers… You may as well just resign yourself to that fact and not fight it. Your adopted team should be well covered and no team will be shoved down all our collective throats like the Leafs will be.

Besides, you probably already root for the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors because they are allegedly “Canada’s Team” when it comes to their selected sports… Heck, you may as well just move to Toronto now you Toronto-loving sports fan. Why should the Leafs be any different for you huh?

Why as a Jets fan you should root against them:

Leafs fans are already insufferable now, have been all season and haven’t shut up at all about how much better their rookie(s) is allegedly better than Patrik Laine (even though he maybe probably is), will crank the obnoxious knob to 11 now that they’ve made the playoffs, and will likely throw parades and rallys if the Leafs actually win a series.

Do you want to be associated with any of that? Ignoring the fact that Jets fans would / will be just as bad when we finally do have our turn at post-season glory of course.