The year was 2015, and the Canadian Spring movement was taking place. The Vancouver Canucks fought back to reemerge as a playoff team. The Calgary Flames were the up and coming young team everyone was excited to watch. The Montreal Canadiens looked like a Cup contender. A made up team called the Ottawa Senators had a magical hamburger lead them to being noticed. The Edmonton Oilers...well, they still sucked.
And then there was the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers. The playoff winless AHL club of an abandoned metropolis had another crack FINALLY in the small cold village that looked like it was Craster's Keep from Game of Thrones. The Jets, who had been pegged (no pun intended) to make the playoffs since taking off (no pun intended) in Winnipeg after being relocated in their first year, were just now making good on their playoff aspirations after years of being jettisoned (pun intended) from the regular season.
Then of course they blew it.
So how did this year go?
- Lost some more
- Traded their franchise captain for a displaced prospect and low end first round pick
- Have used Chris Thorburn on a third line
- Got really mad at me for calling them hillbillies and Dustin Byfuglien a pregnant water buffalo
- Continue to employ Ondrej Pavelec
How will next year go? Winnipeg has properly resumed their place of mediocrity after all. The Central division remains tough as ever with Chicago and St. Louis as big guns, Dallas and Colorado as young uptempo teams, and Minnesota and Nashville as far more...capable. Winnipeg will be back to "maybe we hope the other teams fuck up a bunch and we make the playoffs as a wild card again and get swept?" which was all they could have really hoped for to begin with.
It was fun(?) while it lasted Winnipeg. I will look forward to forgetting about you next year entirely too.
Prediction: The Kings, after locking down a playoff spot, are now determined to finish with as poor a record as possible so they can position themselves for the playoffs. I do prefer this new approach of making sure they make the playoffs and then have a crappy seed vs the low-end-position-barely-make-playoffs approach. So they will lose 3-1 tonight.