Have The Winnipeg Jets Have Found Their Identity?

Winnipeg fans are liking their “NEW” Winnipeg Jets!

For over three years, Winnipegers have heard that their local NHL team doesn’t have an “identity”.

They’ve gone through a long evaluation period, made a few changes here and there, added a new coach but for the most-part it is basically the same core that arrived here from Atlanta.  So what happened?

The Changes?

Is it as simple as adding Head Coach Paul Maurice?  Putting an “A” on Blake Wheeler’s jersey?  Was it the addition of the kids like Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry to the line-up?  Was it the subtle “under the radar” acquisitions of players like Michael Frolik, Michael Hutchinson and Mathieu Perreault?  OR is it a combination of ALL OF THE ABOVE?

Even the most ardent Winnipeg Jets fan didn’t see this coming.  Right now the Winnipeg Jets are a pretty darn good hockey team.  Are they perfect?  No, but how many teams are?  This team has always had the tools and I believe all they needed was a coach like Paul Maurice to figure out the best way to utilize them.

In the past, many hockey observers would state that the Jets have a “big” team and I would sarcastically reply they had a “tall” team because they sure don’t play “big”.  This team didn’t finish checks consistently in either end of the rink and at times the crease area around their goaltenders looked like a bus stop.  They never moved anybody out of there.

The Winnipeg Jets could always skate, in fact they are probably one of the better skating teams in the league.  They are getting good goaltending.  They have size and they’re using it.  They are tough and I don’t mean “goon” tough, I mean “team tough”.  Nobody is going to push this team around.  Do they take too many penalties?  Yes!  Do they care?  Yes and no!  Head Coach Paul Maurice actually said “it is who we are”.     

After missing the playoffs in every season since moving to Winnipeg, they are pissed off at not playing in the post-season and are very motivated.

Did I mention resilient?

The Winnipeg Jets played big stretches of the second quarter of the season without their top four or five defenceman and Evander Kane has missed his share of games but they hardly skipped a beat.  It looked like “plug and play”.  It didn’t matter who was in the line-up.  They continued to grind.  They actually have a system implemented by their coach that utilizes their strengths.  It was quite impressive.

New Attitude?

Right now, the Winnipeg Jets have a bit of swagger in their game that Jet fans haven’t seen before.  They are getting a reputation around the league as being bad asses and I think they kind of like it.  They are playing with a “screw you” attitude!  They are not intimidated by the heavy-weights in the Western Conference any more.  Hell, they are one of the heavy-weights in the Western Conference.

Right now the Winnipeg Jets have a dangerous mix.  They have speed, skill, size, attitude, motivation, purpose and the right guy steering the ship.

It would seem the Winnipeg Jets have found their identity and it looks good on them.

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