The Winnipeg Jets are, as of Monday morning, the top team in the Western Conference with a record of 29-14-and-1.
Looking at the success this team has grabbed hold of, dealing with a wide swath of injuries and adversity this season, with generally the same line-up last year, has many looking back at the insanely disappointing 2021-22 campaign with even more ire.
This was, which was obvious to many, what this team was capable of last year — there’s no doubt about it.
For whatever reason, and there were many, last year devolved into devastating results.
Did Paul Maurice’s time as head coach, something he even admits, not come to an end quick enough? Certainly.
Were issues in terms of team confidence, special teams, and the mental side of the game, not properly addressed by the organization? That’s also a yes.
Were the players not holding onto their end of the bargain, creating consistent defensive breakdowns?
That’s a bingo … but hold on. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Rick Bowness is the man for this job. He wasn’t available last year because he was the head coach of the Dallas Stars last year. I couldn’t imagine him not being here right now.
Would another coach have been able to salvage last year? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
The greatest vision, whether out of Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff’s control or not, (we never will truly know how close they were to making deals), was doing nothing.
The team was able to make its only “big” change in bringing in Bowness, a guy with clearly the right message and the right attitude and demeanour, something this team has transitioned into needing, which was something Maurice could not provide the club anymore.
What is on the horizon for the Winnipeg Jets? Well, that’s the fun of this whole thing. No one knows. We get to dream and hope that it becomes reality.
One thing I do know is that this team is capable of greatness. They were last season too, but the mix was off.
And you have to give credit to the organization for knowing they didn’t need to throw it away — just add a little sugar and a dash of cinnamon.