Ruining the Party
After years of waiting, the NHL has now officially returned to Winnipeg, as the new Jets Franchise played their first regular season game against Montreal yesterday. The Fans were definitely up for this game, as the MTS Centre was extremely loud throughout the pregame, the introductions, and the early minutes of the game.
The Montreal Canadiens came into town with their own plan that differed from the dream return that Jets fans certainly wanted. In the face of opposition, these new Jets showed that they aren’t all that different from the Atlanta Thrashers, or from the Jets NHL franchise of years past, both of which had very limited success.
With less than five minutes played in the first period, the Jets were down a goal courtesy of Mike Cammalleri. The Jets and their crowd would not get down though, and continued to cheer the team on. On the other end of the ice, Carey Price looked calm in the net and calmly turned flurries of Jets’ shots away at every turn.
After going down by two goals, the Jets re-wrote history in the third period when Nik Antropov scored the first goal in the new history of the Winnipeg franchise. The building was rocking and the fans were surely hoping for their team to complete the comeback. However it was not to be. The Canadiens would score 3 more times and put the exclamation points on a convincing 5-1 victory.
I think that Jets fans are going to have to get used to nights like this one, at least for this season. They quite simply are not a very good hockey club. Moving the Thrashers from Atlanta to Winnipeg did not solve this franchise’s woes overnight, and the Jets management staff has much work to do to turn them into a contender.
However for one night at least, none of that mattered to Jets fans as the crowd gave the team a rousing standing ovation at the end of the night, despite the loss.
How long can the enthusiasm last? It will be good for the league if it holds through the dark days ahead, as the Jets do have some good young pieces. Hopefully for fans in Winnipeg, a winning core can be built, but for now watching a visiting team ruin Winnipeg’s party may become a habit.
And that is the last word.