As long as I can remember I was raised to treat my things and people with respect. I learned the value of my toys, my video games and the importance of being good to my friends and family. I remember the sting of my G.I. Joe "Storm Shadow" breaking and even worse when the Winnipeg Jets were ripped from me as a young teenager. It hurt, I tried to like my other G.I. Joes and I tried to follow my team that left but being so emotionally invested and loyal... I just didn't recover. Slowly over the years, my love for hockey petered out and aside from cheering for the token Canadian team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs... I spent almost no time watching NHL Hockey. I know, they're back and so I have stopped crying, my days are a little brighter and I love my Jets coffee breaks.
Something I'm not in love with is how Winnipeg fans speak of our most important players. That's right, I'm referring to our goalies. Since the day Ondrej Pavelec signed with the Winnipeg Jets, fans across this great city have been saying trade him, bench him and buy him out. Others have been steadfast in defending Pavelec for his character and his ability to steal games. Clearly we have no qualms about being critical of our goalie but when we chanted "Pavy, Pavy, Pavy!" during the recent Jets home stand I thought to myself... I don't remember the last time we did that. Some would argue, he didn't play well enough to deserve it, and perhaps that is accurate but it doesn't change the fact that we rarely show love for that huge save. How many saves are enough? For us the magic number seems to be 98 out of 101.
What about Hutch! Our rookie goaltender played in 2 games last year down the stretch to which fans responded by giving him the moniker "Clutch" and anointing him our future starter. Since the All-Star break, it is clear that Micheal Hutchinson has lost some of his confidence and so obviously twitter haters fill the channel with "Hutch isn't clutch." Goalies have cold streaks just like players, didn't you ever play NHL 93 to NHL 95? (If not you missed out) Hutch has made mistakes during his games recently but I actually don't even remember a "Hutch" chant ever.
We are a creative fan base and are known around the league for our clever chants to poke fun at the opposition, booing their best player and mercilessly hexing the visitor's goaltender. In my opinion, these things aren't always as effective as we think they are but I will tell you this... When the "Pavy" chants started during his most recent win streak, my HD Television feed showed plainly the sparkle in Ondrej Pavelec's eyes upon receiving some much deserved love.
Why am I writing this blog?
I am writing this blog to suggest that we chant Pavy and Hutch more often. Is it too much to ask for 98 times in 3 games? How about 101? We should support the players of the team we love so long as the effort is there to improve every game. Overall, apathy for our team was part of what lost us the Jets to Arizona in 1996. If we were ever to lose the Jets again, I would have to think of the saying my mom used once when I broke something "This is why we can't have nice things." We can't expect our goalies to be Carey Price, because there is only one Carey Price and he will be heckled mercilessly tomorrow.