These are not the happiest of days to be a fan of the Winnipeg Jets. After all, the season ended last week with thud — and I mean a THUD — in Las Vegas.
But what happens now? And no, I don’t mean about the Jets. We have weeks — months — to discuss what should happen to this roster. And by the way, the answer is “A LOT.”
No, I mean who should pique the interest of fans throughout the province as the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll on through the second round, and two more after that? Let’s face it, hockey will still dominate many people’s calendars until mid-June, when we can talk about the draft and free agency.
It would be easy to suggest that there should be some allegiance to the Canadian teams still alive in the postseason. The Oilers and Maple Leafs have dominated the hockey airwaves all season long, they have great players, and they have played some best hockey this season. But I suspect the rivalries between this city and those two — in hockey, football, and life — will make it impossible for Winnipeggers to cheer for them.
No, I would suggest that fans here might cheer for people rather than teams. How can you not have a soft spot for Laurent Brossoit from the Golden Knights? Oh, I know he beat the Jets, but as a former Jet, he learned so much from Connor Hellebuyck while he was here. His time in Winnipeg was a huge part of him in redefining his career. So in fact, his Jets time has made him who he is.
And then there’s Paul Maurice. We all know he loved living in Winnipeg and for so many years bled Jets blue. Even in his graceful departure, he made sure we all knew he loved this city, this team and his players. What he has done in Florida, particularly in the last 45 days, is nothing short of a miracle — a miracle that many Jets fans knew Paul could conjure up. And you’d have to admit, there is something comforting in those Paul Maurice post-game press conferences.
So I would suggest, as the playoffs continue, it’s people over places: Brossoit and Maurice. Just don’t ask me if Vegas plays Florida in the Stanley Cup Final.