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My infidelity and the Winnipeg Jets

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In which my faithfulness has been put to the ultimate test.

Marianne Helm

It's late Friday night and I can't sleep. My mind is restless and every inch of my body aches.

A long work week is behind me but that's hardly solace given the circumstances. Truth be told I haven't slept in a week. I lay awake each night -- stomach in knots -- trying my hardest to toss and turn without disturbing her peaceful slumber.

Tonight I sit at the kitchen table and stare out the bay window. Perched at its apex, a near full moon watches over a clear night sky. It radiates a soft silver light, illuminating the profile of a Boeing 747 as it jettisons though the cool autumn air. I would give anything to be on that plane right now. The thought of it briefly distracts me from those which cloud my neurotic brain. I fidget in my chair while biting my fingernails down to the flesh.

As the front door swings open the rustling of leaves can be heard in the distance. I say a silent prayer asking God to transform me into a tree. If I were a tree I wouldn't have to worry about the perils of human emotion. More importantly, I wouldn't have to do this.

The door closes with a heavy thud, clearly aided by the crisp, gusting wind. My mind is off dendrology and back aflutter. As she walks in the room I can tell that she's exhausted. In the world of nursing, it's so easy for a twelve hour shift to become a fifteen hour shift. There was a code blue moments before she was set to walk out the door. The patient didn't make it.

Drag.

She drops her work things on the chair opposite of me and makes a beeline to the fridge to find the grilled chicken breast and greek salad she was hoping to enjoy when it was made three hours ago.

I ask her how her day ways as though I don't already know the answer. And tonight I'm frankly not in the mind frame to care. We need to talk in the worst way and my forced chit chat is only making it increasingly more obvious. She sits down with her microwaved plate of food. My legs are trembling. My body is quaking. Les jeux, as they say, sont faits.

She already knows the words that are about to roll off my tongue but she's not going to coax them out of me. Like a fine bourbon they age on my pallet, each syllable seasoning itself a full twelve years before cascading freely out of my mouth. With quivering lips and a hoarse voice, I finally admit my guilt.

I've been having an affair.

She takes the news well initially but I can tell she's seething on the inside. Her blood begins to boil at a rate never before seen in humans. The powder keg is armed and only requires a spark to unleash a massive explosion. I tell her I love her.

Kaboom.

She needs to know how long my infidelity has been going on behind her back. I think twice about lying but decide honesty is the best policy.

"A year".

She wants to know with whom. I tell her it's not like that. The powder keg has reloaded itself and is ready for another explosive discharge.

Kaboom.

She demands to see my phone as if airing all my dirty laundry will make her feel better. I know it won't, but I comply anyway. I direct her to a text message I had sent to a friend just the day before, completely exposing my culpability.

I think I'm in love with the Winnipeg Jets.

The look on her face is priceless.

Kaboom.

It's true, I've slowly fallen in love with the Jets, a revelation that has fractured my longstanding relationship with the Washington Capitals. I swore I would never let this happen upon True North Sports and Entertainment's announcement a team would be returning to our humble city, yet here we are.

What can I say? I'm a weak, tempestuous man.

Washington's roster went from bustling with youthful, exuberant talent to employing Brooks Orpik for the next millennium. Talk about a turnoff.

But if I'm being honest, the Capitals haven't loved me back either. It has been a one-way relationship for awhile now. We've become more and more distant these past three years. We went from cuddling on the couch to sitting on opposite sides of it. We went from talking to each other to talking to our technology. We've both been chasing the ghost of a good thing for quite some time. Their roster went from bustling with youthful, exuberant talent to employing Brooks Orpik for the next millennium.

Talk about a turn off.

Conversely, these Winnipeg Jets remind me of their former Southeast Divisional foes circa 2007, save lacking a superstar the likes of Alex Ovechkin. Jets' fans regularly bemoan the contracts of Mark Stuart and Chris Thorburn taking up valuable roster space like they're the worst thing in the world. Hey, get at me when your second line is compromised of Jeff Friesen, Andrew Cassels, and Petr Sykora. And for the record, that wasn't even the good Petr Sykora. Or how would you like Bryan Muir and Matthieu Biron patrolling your blue line? Shit, throw in Ivan Majesky for good measure, we'd take all your talentless garbage in Washington!

But while some talentless jobbers cashed in NHL paycheques despite their clear lack of skill, management continued to add talent through their draft and develop mantra -- albeit they were really terrible and were rewarded with plenty of top five draft picks. With the hiring of Bruce Boudreau the band was formed and off the Capitals went on to the tune of seven straight playoff appearances.

Now the Caps are a shell of themselves and don't return my phone calls or pleas for attention. Meanwhile Winnipeg is starting to assemble a roster that is on the doorstep of competing and I'm stuck at an impasse. I've always cheered for the underdog as that's who I am in its simplest form. So with each passing game televised on TSN Jets (or now TSN 3) I've become more fond of these rapscallion scrappers.

For the time being I'm going to see how this ménage-à-trois pans out but I have a strong sense that someone will be left with hurt feelings. Considering how things have progressed, I dare say that the Jets have overtaken the Capitals as my one true love; my forever soulmate.

Well, at least until Washington wins the Stanley Cup and I can jump back on the bandwagon saying I faithfully believed all along.

Hopefully internet caches aren't still readily available in the year 2050.

Well let's get onto the Love Hate.

Three things I love this week

Extended looks: Paul Maurice has made it clear that he has no problem giving his young prospects plenty of experience this preseason by allowing most of his veteran players to rest through the first handful of games. Adam Lowry and Nicolas Petan have made the most of his opportunity thus far while Nikolaj Ehlers and Josh Morrissey look like they can use a bit more seasoning. With the regulars likely to receive more playing time as the regular season inches closer it will be interesting to see which of Winnipeg's rookies continue garnering ice time.

Knowing your role: After an injury-plagued 2013-14 season Matt Halischuk is off to a strong start notching two goals in his first three games played. He has been strong on the forecheck and a good energy player when given opportunities. If he can stay healthy it will add to a bottom six that can still use some fine tuning.

Puck drop nears: We are now nine days away from opening puck drop on the Jets' regular season. What once seemed like a century long wait has now whittled itself down to a handful of days. Opening night against the Arizona Coyotes looms. What a great time of year.

Three things I hate this week

Slow starts: Though their first 4 preseason games, few teams have scored fewer goals than the Winnipeg Jets (7). While pre-season hockey is more about getting players back into game flow than lighting the scoresheet on fire, it would be more encouraging to see a bit more offensive output.

Defensive play: Winnipeg defensive game hasn't been quite up to snuff early in the year allowing an average of 3.00 goals per game with a multitude of opportunities coming by way of the cross-ice pass. Chalk it up to a youthful line-up trying to mesh together but hopefully this is an area the team can button up by next Thursday.

Empty games: Sure you can gloss some semblance of importance from preseason hockey pulling whatever narrative you want to shape your argument around but the fact remains that preseason hockey is a sloppy, meaningless hockey for everyone save fringe NHLers trying to secure roster spots. The regular season cannot come soon enough.