Yesterday, I was hoping for a few updates that I could share with you in today’s write up, but nothing came about. Seriously! Not a peep, tweet, post or morse code blip from the Jets camp, aside from the Jets PR announcing D-man Brian Strait had been recalled and Mathieu Perreault had been placed on injured reserve. Maybe Patrik Laine would like to talk about his upcoming All-star appearance, quite the honor for the 18 year old, don’t you think? Apparently it’s not uncommon for the team to be silent on travel days, especially when there is no practice. Alright...
Then, I found this...
On a mission I went. I needed to find out where the “tweet” came from. After a bit of searching, I found it, and it wasn’t pretty. In an article posted on Tuesday evening, Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press went into scorched earth mode and ripped into the Winnipeg Jets. And, I mean ripped! The article was a no holds barred look at how the players, management and team executives are not accountable.
Fans of the Jets hold Steve and Paul accountable. After all, Steve and Paul, and others in the print, television and radio media, have front of the line access to the team and it’s players (I don’t. I wish I did and got paid for it too). Fans ask the media to parlay questions for them. Inquiring minds want to know, and the passionate fans of the Winnipeg Jets are no exception. On our minds? 6 years in, the Jets are coming off 2 losses and have a less than 10% chance of making the playoffs. Why?
The Winnipeg Free Press uses a paywall system and Steve & Paul’s salaries are paid via the stories they sell, either online or in the newspaper. (The article, when I found it, wasn’t hidden by the paywall) Their readers want to know, what’s the scoop? Why, at this point in the tenure of self proclaimed drafting, developing and process has resulted in little progress? Where’s the accountability?
Winnipeg Jets fans are world wide, and it’s truly visible. At every game, there are jerseys and hats proudly displaying the team’s colors and logo. Instagram is littered with photos of fans on beaches, at parks, at home, etc. all wearing the gear. I have several items within a quick eye scan of my tiny one bedroom condo, that has some sort of emblem on it...socks, hat, t-shirt, even a heated blanket my wife purchased for me to relax in as I kept my eyes glued to the tube, waiting for a goal or opposing team penalty. The licensing behind the gear goes back into team coffers. Tickets (which are crazy expensive but demand is high, despite the lower standings position) are sold out night after night.
The tide has turned and the real stakeholders in the team want answers. The fans want to know why the return on their investment in season tickets is lower than expected. That’s what accountability is. It’s the responsibility of the paid to deliver. The employee to bring it to the employer. The player is accountable to the coach, who is accountable to the general manager, who is accountable to the owners. Where do the fans fit in? It’s our unwavering, wallet opening passion that counts.
Irony is defined as “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” The irony is that the team has been promising progress and preaching patience, yet it hasn’t met the investment expectations and returns of the people that truly pay the bills. Having an NHL team in the city is a privilege, but is 6 years too long or not long enough in a re-build? Let’s hope Paul and Steve keep on chipping, and continue to ask the tough questions for us. That scorched earth smoke on the horizon? I hope it’s a signal.
10:00 A.M. Update - The Winnipeg Free Press article linked above has since gone behind the paywall and accessible via subscription. Ironic and accountable!
Who: Winnipeg Jets (22-25-4) vs Chicago Blackhawks (30-15-5)
When: 7:30 pm CST
How: TSN3, TSN1290, CSN-CH, 720WGN
Ehlers - Scheifele - Laine
Copp- Little- Wheeler
Matthias - Lowry - Armia
Tanev - Petan - Thorburn
Morrissey - Byfuglien
Stuart - Trouba
Hartman - Toews - Panik
Panarin - Anisimov - Kane
Hinostoza - Kero- Smaltz
Desjardins - Kruger - Hossa
Keith - Hjalmarsson
Kempny - Seabrook
van Riemsdyk - Rozsival
Player to watch:
Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler - Captain needs to the troops to respond.
Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews - Captain Serious needs to show how it’s done.
Prediction: I hope they win...the Jets, that is.