As we inch closer and closer to the playoffs with the Winnipeg Jets looking to clinch some home ice advantage for the first round and beyond, media outlets from not just Canada, but in the US as well are starting to pay attention.
While other Canadian based sports teams *cough*TorontoRaptors*cough* have had issues getting their just due from the likes of ESPN and Sports Illustrated, the Jets haven’t found that much of a problem as a number of articles have come out over the last few days taking note of just how good this club is and what a great story they’ve been.
So if you’re looking for some great reads to fill your Sunday with, you should certainly check all three of these pieces out if you haven’t already:
The biggest and most well noted of recent Jets tribute pieces is the ESPN long read penned by Greg Wyshynski with a brazen title of “Why The Jets Should be The Envy of The NHL” in which he profiled a few key players such as Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine and Connor Hellebuyck as well as just what it took for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to build the Jets and how it required patience and players committing to the cause.
Cheveldayoff sat down with owner Mark Chipman and laid out what he felt needed to be done for the Jets to contend for the Cup. They needed to get younger, and allow those players to make a multitude of mistakes. The growing pains needed to be palpable, with the knowledge that the franchise would eventually be better for it.
“It wasn’t a hard sell for ownership,” Cheveldayoff said.
Then came the tougher sell: to the players.
Over time, there was buy-in for the Jets’ plans. Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little signed long-term deals. Getting Dustin Byfuglien, who was coveted as a potential UFA, to commit to five years was a coup, as he told the team, “I think we’re on the cusp of something here.”
AP hockey writer Stephen Whyno wrote a piece on sniper wunderkind Patrik Laine for the AP drawing comparisons between him and his idol Alexander Ovechkin and Laine’s impact on the Jets in just two short seasons. Whyno’s piece was picked up by multiple news outlets including Sports Illustrated. In the piece, Whyno notes that Lanie’s already dominating offensive game may just be the beginning…
That’s because Laine is already a dominant player. With 16 goals and eight assists in his past 14 games, Laine has the longest point streak by a teenager and already passed Wayne Gretzky for the most goals by a player before turning 20.
The best part for the Jets? Laine is just getting started.
Over at Pro Hockey Talk which is NBC Sport’s official hockey blog, Sean Leahy had a talk with defenseman Josh Morrissey. It’s almost fitting that the article has gone almost unnoticed by those on Jets social media as much as Morrisey’s actual style and playing on the ice has been overlooked at times.
Leahy’s talk with Morrissey was mostly about Josh’s ability to block shots and more to the point, the sheer amount he’s blocked while still staying healthy.
“There’s definitely been times over the course of the last few years where everyone in the room has little things bugging them,” Morrissey recently told Pro Hockey Talk. “But sometimes it’s sort of Murphy’s Law where all of a sudden you go down and you have protection pretty much everywhere and the puck seems to hit the one spot that’s open — so that can be a little bit frustrating, but nothing that a couple of ice bags can’t fix.”