Finally !!!! Gameday !!!!

Winnipeg Jets Home Opener Finally Here !!! –

After waiting like what seems an eternity, the Winnipeg Jets “Home Opener” is finally upon us.  Only in the NHL can you open the season with three games in four nights on the road then have almost a week off!  I bet the players were really looking forward to another mini-training camp after their 1-2-0 road trip.  On the bright side, Evander Kane had time to heal his injured knee without missing any games.

Speaking of 1-2-0 records, that is the Winnipeg Jets record in home openers since their arrival in River City.  In the Winnipeg Jets inaugural home opener, they were spanked 6-1 by Les Habitants.  In season two, the Jets dropped the opener 4-1 to Ottawa and then finally got their first home opening win last year in season three versus the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.  A solid 5-3 victory sent everybody home happy and optimistic.  

If the Winnipeg Jets have aspirations of becoming a playoff team this year or anytime soon, they will have to improve two things and most Jets fans know where I’m going with this.

18 wins … 23 losses

1.  The Winnipeg Jets must improve on their 18-17-6 home record from last season.  Thanks to the NHL’s skewed standings with their bogus 3-point games this record doesn’t look as bad as it really is.  The Winnipeg Jets lost 23 out of 41 games at home.  That’s flat-out ugly.  The Jets start a five game home stand and it’s time to make the MTS Centre a hell-hole to play in for visiting teams.

9 wins … 20 losses

2.  The Winnipeg Jets have ZERO chance of making the playoffs if they don’t improve their record against their Central Division rivals.  Last season their divisional record was 9-15-5 or 20 losses in 29 games.  Not good.

The Winnipeg Jets can kill two birds with one stone with a win over the Predators tonight.  After tonight’s game versus Nashville, the Winnipeg Jets will host the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche.

Paul Maurice

                  Can Paul Maurice make the MTS Centre a visitor’s nightmare?                       photo by Shawn Coates

I’m going to resist the temptation to say these are all games the Winnipeg Jets should/could win.  The Winnipeg Jets aren’t good enough to just show up and think they can beat anybody.  They have to use their speed, play a physical game, control the neutral zone, get consistent NHL goaltending every night and most importantly, clean up their defensive play in their own zone.  I believe Head Coach Paul Maurice can help implement the game plan and systems but it’s up to the players now.  This home stand can definitely give them the much-needed momentum they will need to get off to a good start in this 2014-15 season. 

The truth be told is that the Winnipeg Jets don’t command a lot of respect around the league.  If you listen to the visiting teams radio shows or read their newspapers and especially their fan-bases social media accounts, Winnipeg is a game they count as a “should win” game.  

Basically, what I’m getting at is respect is earned and the Winnipeg Jets aren’t there yet.  I don’t want to over-hype the importance of this home-stand but in my opinion this home-stand and the first ten game segment are going to be huge for the team and maybe more importantly for the fan-base.  The fan-base is a little skeptical and very fragile.

Lets hope for the best.  GO JETS GO!

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