I know it may be a tad early, but my evaluation and expectations for the Jets have been dramatically altered since the start of the season. I now think the murmurs have to be started. 1st place in the Southeast and nothing less...with that being said, the Panthers are playing the Hurricanes today and wouldn't it be nice to see them lose? Yes, we're only nearing the half way point, but I think the Jets and their fans should look optimistically at being just six back of 3rd in the East.
I have to say I am very impressed with what the management in Florida has done! Quite a turnaround. They pretty much acquired a whole new team that has come together really fast and is pumping out one of the best top lines in the league. Very impressed. Good job turning that team around.
Yes, the Panthers have experienced a major turn around. Tampa Bay and Washington have gone the other way and don't appear to be turning it around. So perhaps FLA has become our biggest challenge in getting tops in the southeast, I think so, and I think WPG also has a good chance to win it.
Florida and New Jersey are two teams in front of us in the standings that I cannot see keeping up their pace.
In both cases, I'm not sold on their goaltenders. I don't see Theodore being able to maintain his performance over an entire season. Similarly, Brodeur is a shadow of his former self and is allowing weak goal after weak goal, yet NJ keeps finding a way to squeak out a win. Hedberg has been pretty good, but I doubt they hand over the reigns to him and even if they do, I don't know if he can handle the duties of a #1 goalie.
Yeah my expectations have drastically changed too. I seriously thought Winnipeg was going to be a bottom 4 team and thus, avoided most Jets players in my fantasy league! Now I'm thinking at least the playoffs.
They will come back down to Earth their shooting % is close to 12% total unsustainable and their SV% is 946 also completely impossible to maintain. There stats resemble the Av's team of two years ago and we all know how that turned out.
As someone said, Tallon deserves credit for turning around Florida so fast. He was clearly the architect of that Blackhawks cup team. However I still don't think they'll be the main competition come April. I think Washington and/or Tampa will turn it around. We'll be lucky if we only have to contend with one of those two teams for the division. Florida will not win the division. I'd be willing to bet on that.
The playoff races will be awesome to watch this year, sadly the last time we'll see this. There are 4 teams (Florida, New Jersey, Buffalo, Toronto) in playoff spots right now in the East that I wouldn't be surprised if they miss the playoffs entirely and 4 teams (Winnipeg, Washington, Tampa Bay, Montreal) out of the playoffs right now in the East that I could still see making it.
I think that FLA could have gone either way. When you drastically change a team like that you are risking having zero chemistry and having no one gel. The opposite seems to have happened.
I personally still think that they will return to earth and be in the mix battling for 6-8th. I think the Caps will eventually turn it around and be at the top of the Southeast again. I just don't see how they can't. They will get Green back and trade Semin for a really nice piece. I could even see them pick up a more reliable goaltender.
But I agree,
Lose, Florida, lose! (that goes for ALL Florida teams!)
I was hoping we'd somehow swing a deal for Versteeg. I like him.
And I agree with the idea of stopping trashing other markets. It always amazes me how people in Winnipeg can get in on the bashing so easily. The original Jets left because of a bad lease (remember Winnipeg Enterprises?) and bad politics ($190 mil diverted to the Pan Am games but not a new arena!?!?!) and a weak Canadian dollar. Not because cheap Manitobans wouldn't buy tickets. I intentionally watched a couple local broadcasts from other Canadian cities on May 31 and I heard a lot of 'Good for them...but I don't think it will last' opinions coming from places like Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary. And when CBC Sports names the Jets as Canada's sports story of the year you still get the comments littered with 'Winnipeg's too small, after they lose a few years, they'll be gone again....blah, blah....no corporate base....blah, blah....it's so cold, who'll want to sign there?....etc'. I think there was a bit of a rivalry between QC and Wpg for who would return first (look at Belanger's comments), so I can understand where they're coming from and wish them luck, but as far as Hamilton and Toronto 2? Go die in a fire Southern Ontario. Seriously. I'd rather see a team in Mexico City before there. I would probably piss myself laughing if the Oilers arena issues somehow didn't get sorted and they wound up moving to Quebec. Now, I'm not wishing that on the fans in Edmonton, but it would really crack me up.
I can understand how fans might look at a southern market and some of the cheap ticket packages they put together and want to bring it up, but at least do it in the general thread or the BoH thread. I've seen a few come up over the years that were real head scratchers. But we don't need that here. Talk about the on-ice product. I for one genuinely feel bad for the true Thrasher fans saddled with ownership that didn't try to get the casual fan/hockey noob on board, horrible player decisions and generally killing the market. It should have been Phoenix.
If we were able to win our division, we'd be a scary team to play in the first round. I think that when you look at our record it's pretty clear we have a huge home ice advantage. It'll be tough to win our division, I think eventually Washington will start to play like their capable but if we did it'd be special.
I would just like to add that in no way was this thread intended to "bash" Florida's hockey market, but rather, to simply point out that they appear to be the only team standing in Winnipeg's way of finishing top 3 in the East. I personally love the fact that people are going out to see the cats in action, which by the way, they do look amazing. Having said that, I'll be cheering for the Canes tonight. And I agree, a Winnipeg Jets first round opponent would be a tough out, especially for a sixth seeded team
While it is awesome that they are doing so well. Lets not get to worked up. As the thrashers they have had many seasons when they started hot and cooled later in the season. Hopefully, that does not happen again but there are many game ahead.
I personally am in a "hope every damn Eastern Conference team" loses mode and when two Eastern Conference teams play each other I hope and pray that it doesn't go into OT since it'll be a 3 point game instead of a 2 point game.
As far as I am concerned, the Jets are in direct competition with all the Eastern Conference teams for a play-off spot. You never know who they'll be up against going down to the wire in April, so I'm hoping none of the others get point now or any time until we know for sure the Jets final standing.