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ANALYSIS: Jets not sputtering like some other Canadian teams

I was sitting in a press room the other night in an NHL arena with a general manager, and I asked him if he saw and felt the angst through the first month of the season, like the fans appear to have in many NHL cities.

He said yes, and then added, “Have you watched our team lately?”

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And it got me to think about all that angst and the pressure to perform, particularly in Canada, and the difference between promises made and performances given.

In Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, the emotions have run high since July for one reason or another. The Maple Leafs are supposed to be undefeated. The Canucks are supposed to contend, at least for a playoff spot, and the Flames were winning accolades for a summer of rebuilding. All have heard the angst.

Montreal and Ottawa are both in the position of under-promising and over-delivering. Neither fan base is expecting as much as the others. After all, both teams have young, fast cores of players… but both are still learning to win and the fans are waiting — patiently.

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And then there’s the Winnipeg Jets.  I think many expected more changes to this roster and were waiting to pounce when the team sputtered, when they didn’t make as many changes.

But that hasn’t happened.

The stars were called on the carpet and needed to respond, and for the most part, they have. If Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens was any indication, this year could be fun.

It’s best to describe this club differently than any of the other Canadian teams. This truly is a work in progress. Management has given this core one last chance to respond.

It will be interesting, in a long NHL season, if the fans will be as patient, and the angst will rear its ugly head for Jets fans.

Click to play video: 'John Shannon on the Jets: November 2'
John Shannon on the Jets: November 2

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