Nothing stirs controversy in the Winnipeg Jets locker room quite like a win all while selling a few newspapers in the process.
It's been no secret that Winnipeg's mainstream media has been tougher on the Jets' performance this year, and for good reason. At days end, someone has to hold the team's management accountable for its stagnation and it surely won't be those of us who have signed four-year season ticket contracts with True North Sports and Entertainment in our own blood. Sure, we'll boo and hiss, but to exhibit anything beyond the cat calls to voice our displeasure? Highly dubious.
And make no mistake, many nights Winnipeg has earned every criticism it has received; up until recent efforts against the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres where we could actually taste their hard work on the tips of our collective tongues. Better yet, these efforts were finally rewarded in the form of a 2-1 victory over the Sabres on a chilly Tuesday night in Buffalo, NY in which unlikely hero Ondrej Pavelec was the catalyst, stopping twenty-nine of thirty shots to preserve a Jets' win.
Odd then, that the Winnipeg Free Press would post an op-ed article the next day citing an anonymous Jets player who had some choice words for his Czech puck-stopping teammate. An excerpt from the article:
The point was less than delicately made to me by a member of the Winnipeg Jets last season on the matter of goaltending and how key it is in the NHL.
"Good teams can't win in this league without great goaltending. Let alone a team like ours," grumbled the veteran.
Nothing like recapping a victory with a drive-by piece on the goalie that earned two points the hard way.
Admittedly, goaltending has been problem that has hampered the Jets' long before they made their move from the city of Atlanta. But to draw back on a quote from a year ago slamming Pavelec after a win is something that you should expect from a fanboy hack like myself rather than a distinguished member of Winnpeg's sports mainstream.
More upsetting is that this isn't the first time that an unnamed member of the Jets has spoken out against the family.
Flash back to May 1, 2012 in which another anonymous Jets veteran appeared in the same author's editorial, where he promptly belittled Russian forward Alexander Burmistrov in what became a borderline xenophobic diatribe. Burmistrov has arguably been Winnipeg's best forward thus far in 2013. An excerpt from the article:
The problem is he was rushed into the NHL by Atlanta Thrashers management and has developed at a slow rate, while growing a bit of an aversion to coaching. Burmistrov doesn't like to listen to veteran teammates or the Jets coaching staff when they try to correct a flaw in his game.
"He doesn't like to be told what to do. He response is always, 'No respect, no respect,'" said one Jets veteran, when asked this season about Burmistrov. "His English isn't great and he gets his back up. He gets defensive. The only guy that can talk to him is Antro (Nik Antropov)."
I....... just......... urgh.
If TNSE are truly looking to improve the character in the room then they're doing a shitty job. Nothing oozes leadership better than running to the papers to critique your teammates like a faceless Internet troll.
So who's to blame here? Is it the fault of the media who is using the cloak of anonymity to undermine and push storylines? Or should members of the Winnipeg Jets' roster use better judgement rather than to allow their frustration to cloud better judgement in post-game scrums?
Herm Edwards -- one of the better sound-bytes in NFL history -- once maligned: "...be a man, or a woman. Put your name on it".
They are words that I live by to this day.
In fact, we all should.
What upsets you more, the media using uncorroborated sources or players using the veil of anonymity to make statements? Let us know in the comments section below!