By: Derek "Brooksey" Brookes
Back in 1979 when Winnipeg punched its ticket into the NHL the city was on a euphoric high. While celebrating the Avco cup the crowd started chanting N-H-L, N-H-L! The Jet's coach Tommy McVie shouted back “They’re going to take all our players.’ And the crowd said, ‘We don’t care! We don’t care!’ McVie said, ‘You don’t understand. The prices of tickets are probably going to triple.’ And the crowd said, ‘We don’t care! We don’t care!’ And McVie said, ‘It’s going to be a long time before we can win games and get in the playoffs.’ And they were still saying, ‘We don’t care! We don’t care!’
If you asked anyone if it mattered what team Winnipeg should buy last spring, most of us would have said ‘We don’t care! We don’t care!’ Funny how history seems to repeat itself. Now Winnipeg has reentered the NHL with “new” players, ticket prices have roughly tripled (since 1996) and it could be a long time before we win enough games to get into the playoffs.
“I’ll never be able to give you something I just haven’t got” – Jim Steinman
As a self-proclaimed homer it hurts to say this, but the Jets aren’t going to step it up anytime soon. If you look at the roster’s career years and compare it to this year’s point projections you will find that the top 6 forwards are status quo or a little worse. Add to that the 3rd and 4th lines are overachieving. Wellwood, Burmistrov, Glass, and Stapleton will likely have their best NHL seasons. Fehr, Miettinen and Thorburn will post horrible numbers. Fehr was a healthy scratch for the first time this season as Machacek got the start against Montreal. The important conclusion is that the team’s roster has no untapped breakout stars. This crew is performing at or near its potential.
The organization has been quietly sticking to the plan to obtain depth through the draft and free agency. That is to say they have made no significant trades so far this year. With the trade deadline looming, talk is heating up that a move is coming. Whatever moves they make, it must bring the Jets more depth. The team needs scoring talent desperately, but it can’t be at the cost of our future.
Back when the Jets were out winning Avco Cups, songwriter Jim Steinman was struggling. He complained to a friend that no one liked his stuff. He was told to just write something simple. So he went off and wrote “2 Out of 3 Ain’t bad”. The advice was very helpful, as Meatloaf made it one of his most popular songs. Maybe the Jets could learn from that advice and start getting some people to the net and pick up some simple “greasy goals”. Winnipeg will need to win 2 out of 3 the rest of the way in to have a chance at a playoff spot so in this case 2 out of 3 ain’t bad after all.