Well, here we are. It's almost hard to believe that we are shovelling the final heaps of dirt on the eternal resting corpse of 2011-12. Only five months ago, things seemed so bright, so fresh, so new. Now, looking back, the season kind of blends itself together in a blur of highs and lows, wins and losses.
Tonight the Winnipeg Jets took part in their final road game of the regular season on Long Island. Most playoff seeds have been decided and there was very little for both these teams to compete for, unless you consider the Islanders trying to get Steve Staios a victory on what was the 1000th game of his career as a form of motivation, if so, then mission accomplished..
Further to this mornings post about Defining Moments, every hockey team has a destiny to uphold. The destiny of teams such as the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers has been to exceed all expectations set for them. The Washington Capitals destiny seems to be continued disappointment to the residents of D.C. Then you have teams like the Minnesota Wild, who's destiny has been to find ways to lose, by and means necessary, after being the league leaders in overall points by the seasons opening quarter.
The Winnipeg Jets destiny is a lot like that of Lieutenant Dan Taylor of Forrest Gump. Taylor (ably preformed by Gary Sinise) like many of his ancestors, was born to die on the battlefield protecting the freedom of his country. The Jets also have a longstanding tradition of "dying on the field of battle", absentees from the NHL's post-season in eleven of their twelve years of existence.
Except, Sinise's character didn't perish on the battlefields of Vietnam as he hunted down "Charlie". Nor did the Jets choose to lay down and die after their fate appeared to be all but sealed. In Lt. Dan's scenario, he was rescued by the slow-witted Forrest Gump and after surfing amputation, continued living a long and prosperous life. The Jets have been propped up by their top-six forwards as well as the emergence of Spencer Machacek as they have crawled their to the finish line, battered, bruised and broken.
It didn't seem to matter that they were down 3-0 Tuesday to the Florida Panthers; they found a way to to pry a win an overtime win from a team that has dominated them in the early stages of the game.
It wasn't a particularly pretty game, but at least it had entertainment value.
The Jets to their credit, did battle hard again tonight. But fate can only be tempted so often before it finally calls your name.
With just under a minute left in regulation, a Travis Hamonic slap shot was redirected by Michael Grabner, putting the Jets to rest for good.
Although, the culmination of tonight's game was a loss, it appears the tank battle was short-lived. Winnipeg entered the dance much too late and it seems that the Jets are destined to draft no higher than seventh overall in the upcoming draft.
That will all be determined Saturday night as the Jets will host the Tampa Bay Lighining in what should be a send-off of epic proportions.
These 81 games have been a whole lot of fun to someone finally old enough to appreciate the impact which the Jets have on this city. Time to pack up the gear and get ready for the heat of summer.
See you at the beach.
First Period: 06:38 New York Islanders ES Goal, Matt Moulson (36) (John Tavares); 08:06 New York Islanders ES Goal, Kyle Okposo (22) (Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen); 09:42 Winnipeg ES Goal, Tobias Enstrom (6) (Jim Slater, Dustin Byfuglien); 17:08 Winnipeg ES Goal, Andrew Ladd (28) (Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian)
Second Period: 08:41 New York Islanders ES Goal, Kyle Okposo (23) (John Tavares)
Third Period: 07:03 Winnipeg ES Goal, Zach Bogosian (5) (Chris Thorburn); 11:45 New York Islanders Penalty Shot, Michael Grabner (18) (unassisted); 12:21 Winnipeg ES Goal, Dustin Byfuglien (12) (unassisted); 19:13 New York Islanders ES Goal, Michael Grabner (19) (Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald)