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Photo Credit: Twitter: twitter.com/ValParker7

Picking The Jets As Your Playoff Team? Here’s What You Need To Know…

Hello hockey fan,

Congratulations and thank you for selecting the 2017-18 Winnipeg Jets as your team of choice to shamelessly bandwagon support during what we hope will be a long and successful Stanley Cup Playoff run.

First, let us say that we are sorry your team: (please pick one of the following)

A – battled hard this season but fell just short of their playoff aspirations.
B – continued to endure a rebuild period that we are sure will be successful in the future.
C – is the Vancouver Canucks and thus a constant source of misery and frustration.

With that formality out of the way, the following guide is to help give you a crash course on what it is like and expected of you to be a Winnipeg Jets fan so that you do not stand out like a sore thumb on social media. (Jets Twitter is *ahem*great!*ahem* – no really, it is!)

And because everyone loves lists, I’m here to give you ten things you need to know about and get excited over about the Winnipeg Jets.

1 – Patrik Laine is the best

Yes, we know his beard looks awful. He knows his beard looks awful. That said asking him to cut it at this point is like asking Sampson to cut his golden hair. It’s easily the league’s MVH (Most Valuable Hair) this season. How valuable is is? Recently Laine suffered a cut on the chin from a high stick and the instructions to the Jets trainers was “save the beard.

Beyond that though, how do you hate a kid who finished second in league scoring with 43 goals, says “Winnipeg is good”, lives with his mom and would rather just chill out and play some Call Of Duty?

2 – Not just “Canada’s Team” but “America’s Team” as well

Our captain is American – and noted Minnesota Viking fan – Blake Wheeler.

Our two best defensemen – Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien – are both American.

Our starting goalie? He just set the record for most wins in a season by an American born goaltender.

Rookie standout 31 goal kid Kyle Connor? American.

Shutdown third line center Adam Lowry? He’s a Yankee as well. (Although unknown if he’s a Yankee fan, we hope not..)

Tyler Myers? Andrew Copp? Jack Roslovic? Tucker Poolman, Matt Hendricks? All American born baby! The Jets have as many Americans on the roster – 11 in total – as they do Canadians.

3 – We’re also becoming Finn-ipeg

At first there was Joel Armia. Then came along Patrik Laine. This year Sami Niku burst onto the scene in the AHL and scored in his NHL debut against Montreal. Next season could see the rise of Kristin Vasalainen who could be every bit the sniper that Laine is. That’s four very good Finnish players playing in a city that’s had a known affection for players from Finland.

4 – The Jets kids are alright.

There will be a lot of games this past season Jets fans will look back fondly on and the game on April 3 against Montreal may be high on that list.

Five goals scored by five different players and all of them under the age of 22 (Ehlers & Connor – 22, Niku & Roslovic – 21 and Laine – 19), all on their Entry Level Contracts and did it in a win without established veterans in the lineup such as Wheeler, Little, Byfuglien and Scheifele. The rest of the league may not have noticed as much or given much thought, but this could have been considered a warning shot for seasons to come. The Jets are going to be a good team for quite some time and they are just getting started.

5 – Helle-boy is great

Connor Hellebuyck wasn’t even really expected to be this team’s starting goalie when this season begin, but all he’s done since October is be selected for the NHL’s All-Star Game, be named one of the league’s three stars twice and lead the NHL in wins with 44 which also set a new record for American born goalies.

Officially, he ranks tenth in the league in save percentage with a .924 mark, but if you look at goalies who have started 41 games or more this season, that ranking jumps to fifth.

He’s been a workhorse the entire season and a reliable one at that.

6 – Animated Buff

Recently, Paul Maurice commented that Dustin Byfuglien was playing some of the best hockey of his career despite not putting up the type of offensive numbers we’re used to seeing from the big man. It’s true that Buff has focused more on being a solid defender, but he’s always been a natural when it comes to enjoying himself on the ice which has led to some very GIF-able moments…

7 – Great players, no individual awards.

The Jets are a 52 win team and from start to finish they’ve been one of the league’s best all year… And it’s very possible that not a single player will win an individual award come July in Vegas.

Blake Wheeler for the Hart? He’s been mentioned a time or two but it’s unlikely he even gets a nomination.

Hellebuyck for Vezina? He maybe should and will likely get a nomination, but more established names such as Rinne and Andrei Vasilevskiy may win out.

Kyle Connor for Calder? 31 goals scored but he hasn’t gotten the attention like Mathew Barzal has, plus critics would point out he got those 31 with Wheeler and Scheifele as linemates.

Adam Lowry for Selke? Before his injury his numbers supported such a claim but again he was flying well under the radar even before he missed a wide chunk of games.

8 – 114

The Jets went 52-20-10 this season which was good for 114 points and second place not only in the Central Division, but second place in the entire league. It’s the greatest season this franchise – Atlanta Thrashers / Jets – has ever had and it’s the greatest season the city of Winnipeg has ever seen from an NHL club. This team has home-ice advantage (unless they play Nashville that is) through the entire NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Oh and this is no big deal or anything, but the Jets had the best home record in the league this season going 32-7-2.

9 – Just one win, please?

Expectations are that these Winnipeg Jets could go a ways in the playoffs. After having the regular season they just had, a first round exit would be quite the disappointment. Of course a second round battle with the Nashville Predators (aka: the one team that was slightly better than the Jets this season) looms large, but truth be told most Jets fans are just looking forward to that first playoff win.

The Winnipeg Jets / Atlanta Thrashers franchise in two tries back in 2015 and 2007 have never won a playoff game. The last time Winnipeg saw a home NHL playoff win was April 21, 1996.

Jets fans have high expectations this season, but getting that first playoff win out of the way will elicit some sighs of relief.

10 -The Whiteout

You may have heard about the reputation Winnipeg Jets fans have for being loud and having fun. There will be a party inside Bell MTS Place of course, but there will also be a party outside the rink as well. Given the closeness of Saint Paul, Minnesota and that two of the three road games in this series fall on a Sunday, don’t be surprised if Xcel Energy Center becomes a home away from home for the Jets and their fans.

  • Jimjamg

    I answered C to your opening quiz, so to distract from my misery I am heartily bandwagoning the Jets this playoff. In fact they are my Cup pick, let’s bring it home! Thanks for the primer, I did not realize people in Winnipeg knew how bad Laine’s beard is. Let’s go Jets!