GettyUntil next year, Jets fans.
The Winnipeg Jets close out their first year in Manitoba Saturday night versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, and no doubt the primary storyline will be Steven Stamkos's pursuit of the rare, 60-goal season.
But if we're talking about rare and special moments, I think we need to take a second to appreciate the year-long party that's taken place this season at the MTS Centre. Saturday will mark the end of the honeymoon phase between Winnipeg's hockey fans and their prodigal NHL team, a phenomenon that we may not see again in our lifetimes.
It was like something out of a parable when the Jets nee Thrashers moved to Manitoba this season; the fans practically stripped naked and ran out to meet the team coming down the road. The city's hockey fans, teeming after 15 years without, embraced the Jets without qualification and have continued to do so for 40 consecutive home games. The Winnipeg crowd has been the best crowd in the NHL all year, a fact that very nearly spurred the team to an unlikely playoff spot.
"Have you seen our home record?" Tanner Glass told a scrum of reporters last month when asked why the Jets salute their fans after every game. "It's the least we can do."
No kidding. Fact is, we may never again see an NHL crowd like the one we saw in Winnipeg this year. From Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press:Read More »from The honeymoon in Winnipeg is over; will things be different next year?