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Winnipeg Jets vs St. Louis Blues

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The harshest critics can be our minds.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

No pressure means that all bets are off. The Winnipeg Jets should just ignore everything and everybody...the media, the fans, maybe management. Just hit the ice like no one is watching, and do what they do best which is play hockey. Pretend like no one is in the stands, setting up to cheer or jeer the dog & pony show in the fishbowl that is the MTS Centre or within the confines of another arena being displayed on your monitor at home or where ever. No one is critiquing, no one is judging, scrutinizing or inspecting, whether it be on twitter, the newspaper or television, or even via this blog or others. Just play.

On Saturday night, while watching the Winnipeg Jets play the Ottawa Senators on the Sportsnet broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada, the commentators went on to talk about Mathieu Perreault’s recent contract renewal and his play of late. It was mentioned that Perreault felt he needed to play up to the ability or expectation of his new contract, and somehow pressurized the situation in his mind.

His game fell off, as he was trying too hard.

Perreault felt bad, drained and somewhat defeated. Then, epiphany. Just go out and play. It was his past play that rewarded him with his new contract, not the expectation that came with it. The pressure lifted, and his mind cleared. Now, Mathieu Perreault is playing the best hockey of his career. The team now has four wins in a row, thanks in large part to the 4-2 win in the aforementioned broadcast.

Ted Wyman of the Winnipegsun.ca recently wrote an article that is similar in scope to this one too.

Judy Owen of the Canadian Press recently wrote a story on CBC.ca about Patrick Laine’s recent frustrations.

Sometimes we forget that the people we pay the big bucks to see play hockey, are human too. “But, they’re professionals. They should suck it up, as they are paid big money to play a kids’ game!” is often the mantra following professional athletes about.

Forget about the outside noise, the harshest of critics can be our minds. Or in the case of the Winnipeg Jets players, theirs. Nobody can be as hard on ourselves as we can. The pressure to make the playoffs somewhat created the pressure that kept the team out of the playoffs. Next season, I hope the team, or at least some it’s players, can put this spin on wisdom, to good use.

We as fans do have the right to express our opinions. We can voice our displeasure to our hearts content. But, hockey players or any other professional, as soon as they begin to take it to heart, that’s when the self induced mind games take over. The ego. The doubt. The insecurity. The fear.

So, just ignore us. Our opinions are not as important to you as we think they are. We’re not going away, but hopefully we fall on deaf ears. Just win hockey games, make it into the playoffs, this coming season and the next. Give it your best. Bear down. We’ll be there. Your victory is our victory. Your defeat is our loss. Our passion is should be your fuel for spirit, not poison for the mind.

With that, push through.

Today, the Winnipeg Jets take on the St. Louis Blues, in one of the final 3 games remaining in the 2016-17 NHL season for the Blue, white and silver. Can they make it 5 wins in a row. We’ll soon see.

Who: Winnipeg Jets (37-35-7) vs St. Louis Blues (43-28-7)

When: 7:00 pm CST

Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

How: TSN3, TSN1290, FS-MW, KMOX

Projected Lineups:

Winnipeg Jets:

Ehlers - Scheifele - Wheeler

Perreault- Little- Laine

Copp - Lowry - Armia

Tanev - Petan - Thorburn

Melchori - Byfuglien

Morrissey - Trouba

Stuart - Nogier

Hellebuyck

Hutchinson

*Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic were called up from the Manitoba Moose yesterday, but are not expected in the lineup.

*Marko Dano was a healthy scratch the last couple of games, so we’ll see if he gets in.

*Tyler Myers and Ben Chariot are on the trip and are listed as day to day.

*Toby Enstrom, Ondrej Pavelec, Paul Postma and Shawn Matthias are all done for the season following their surgeries.

St. Louis Blues:

Schwartz - Steen - Tarasenko

Paajarvi - Berglund - Perron

Sanford - Barbashev - Yakupov

Upshall - Brodziak - Reaves

Bouwmeester - Pietrangelo

Edmundson - Parayko

Schmaltz - Bortuzzo

Allen

Hutton

3 Questions:

  1. Can Hellebuyck play to the ability that matches the team’s confidence in him? This goes hand in hand. If the team has confidence in Hellebuyck, then Hellebuyck has confidence. However, letting in a soft goal, can deflate things pretty quick.
  2. Can the Winnipeg Jets manage to stay out of the penalty box? Against the Blues, that might be tough, as some players “cough” Ahem, Reaves, need to justify their positions by gooning it up every now and then just to stay relevant. (I’m looking at you too, Thorburn!)
  3. Will the thought of having 4 60 point players next year solidify our playoff faith in the team? I hope so, as the potential exists for 5 60 point playerss next season if Little manages to play a full 82 games (Little has 41 points over 56 games this season). The defense will be better and the goal tending will be pushed too.

Players to watch:

Winnipeg Jets: Petan AKA The Anchorman!

St. Louis Blues: Reaves AKA Goon Incorporated!

Player worthy of your distaste: Reaves, the one man good squad.

Prediction: Jets win 3-2