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ANALYSIS: Why not Winnipeg? Could Jets break Canada’s Stanley Cup drought?

Click to play video: 'Jets playoff preview w/John Shannon'
Jets playoff preview w/John Shannon
680 CJOB hockey analyst John Shannon gives his Jets-Avalanche first-round playoff prediction, plus looks at some of the key matchups that could determine who goes on and who goes home. – Apr 17, 2024

The NHL’s regular season is finally over, and now the hard work begins. By qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs, 16 teams get a chance to play up to 28 more games to win the Stanley Cup.

In a way, it’s an eight-month rehearsal for an eight-week obstacle course — and what an obstacle course it is.

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With just seven of the 32 teams in our country, it really is a feat to see four of the eight series have Canadian content. The four teams that qualified all had seasons of more than 100 points, with the Jets leading the way.

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All four Canadian teams took turns through the season as being the talk of hockey. The Canucks and Jets turned many heads for most of the hockey year with their consistency. The Oilers went 16-0 to reverse a horrendous start, and the Maple Leafs led the league in goal scoring for most of the season.

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Which leads to the age-old question: Is this the year? Is this the year Lord Stanley’s Cup — the Dominion Challenge Cup — actually returns to Canada?

It’s been 31 long years since it last happened. The 1993 Montreal Canadiens, with the great Patrick Roy, won the Cup in five games against the Los Angeles Kings. That year, 10 of their 16 wins were won in overtime. It was truly a historic run.

The strength of all four Canadian teams leads me to think the drought might just end in 2024. Certainly, the stars in Edmonton and Toronto have created a stir, And the Canucks’ turnaround this season has been impressive.

But it’s the depth of the Winnipeg Jets that just might be the difference maker in finding a Canadian-based champion. All too often, stars neutralize each other in the playoffs, and it’s the depth of the forwards — the Lowry line and the Namesntnikov line — that could be the difference in any long, hard-fought series.

So actually, that question “Is this the year?” maybe should be changed to, “Why not Winnipeg?”

Why not, indeed.

Click to play video: 'With Jets playoff-bound, traditional whiteout street parties to return'
With Jets playoff-bound, traditional whiteout street parties to return

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