(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!)
Written by Craig Knapp of Boarding School Hockey
Most Disappointing Team: 1980-1981 Winnipeg Jets
There can be only one. The 1980-1981 team was the epitome of disappointment. With 9 wins 57 losses and 14 ties the Jets set a new standard for sucking. Only the 1974-1975 Washington Capitals were a statistically worse team. The 80-81 Jets team holds the NHL record for longest winless streak which comes in at a whopping 30 games.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Jets fans, who just a few years earlier dominated the WHA with names like Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson, and Anders Hedberg. Now those superstars were replaced with the likes of Tim Trimper, Don Spring, and Norm Dupont.
The Jets went through theee different coaches that season, which I’m pretty sure is not only an NHL record, but also throughout the history of sport and time. Tom McVie (1 win, 20 losses and 7 ties), Bill Sutherland (6 wins, 20 losses and 3 ties), and Mike Smith (2 wins, 17 losses and 4 ties) were all victims of this pathetic team that only managed to score 247 goals yet still conceded 400.
The one bright side to that season of suckage was that it enabled the Jets to draft Dale Hawerchuk first overall the next season, but even that couldn’t make up for the misery felt by Jets fans.Those were was some of the first games I ever went to and I can clearly remember many fans in the stands wearing paper bags over their heads. Though in Winnipeg that could be considered an improvement.
Most Disappointing Jet: Ondrej Pavelec
Do I really need to explain?
Pavelec was a former second round draft pick who has never lived up to the potential that he for some reason he is being paid for. Sporting some of the worst numbers for a starting goalie in the league, Pavelec somehow avoided being bought out this off season which still makes you wonder what he's got on Kevin Cheveldayoff.
Without Pavelec in net there is a good chance this team makes the playoffs at least one of the three years they have been back in Winnipeg. Yet, for some reason this team seems beholden to a goalie that is universally considered as way below average.
That's what makes this player so disappointing. It's not his play, it's the fact that he's still playing. Pavelec stunk up the KHL during the lockout, and also during the Olympics. Even though he was the only NHL goalie on the roster, the Czech Republic's coach was reluctant to play him. Guess he knows something that the brain trust (I use that term loosely) in Winnipeg doesn't.
Most Disappointing Moment in Jets History: Back to Back loses to the Capitals in the March of 2013
So many moments. Its so hard to pick just one, but let's go with a wound that's still fresh. It's March of 2013, and for some reason the band Fun is at the top of the charts. The Winnipeg Jets are in a position to win the Southeast Division and make the playoffs for the first time since returning to the city.
The Jets have a back to back home series against the Washington Capitals. A sweep by the Jets can solidify their position and destroy the Capitals' hopes in one shot. The MTS Centre was jumping as the home team took the ice. Let's just say the excitement didn’t last long. It only took the Caps three minutes to open the scoring and that's all they would need, but they added 3 more enroute to a 4-0 shellacking of the Jets.
Its all OK though. The Jets had another shot the next day and a split would still put them in a pretty good position. There was no way they could crap the bed two games in a row, right? Well they did, and this time it was a bigger mess.
The Capitals chased Ondrej Pavelec from the net as they destroyed the Jets 6-1 in a loss that would send the two teams into different directions. The Capitals would end up turning their season around to win the Southeast, while the Jets would end up holding out until the last day of the season before being eliminated from playoff contention. Though after those two games, it was pretty much over.
Most Disappointing Jets Transaction: Temmu Selanne traded To Anaheim
Again so many choices. There were many failed draft picks, tons of lost trades, and questionable decisions. But there is one that stands out more than any other. On February 6, 1996, the Winnipeg Jets acquired Chad Kilger and Oleg Tverdovsky from the Anaheim Ducks for the irreplaceable one and only Marc Chouinard. Oh yeah, the Jets also threw in some scrub named Temmu Selanne, who still holds the NHL rookie scoring records.
Chouinard would go on to much success with Swiss powerhouse, Frigbourg-Gotterton. Rumor has it that the Swiss-A league team will be unveiling their Chouinard statue later this year. That Selanne guy? Yeah he would just win a Stanley Cup, put the Ducks on the map, and become one of the most beloved players in the history of the NHL.
On the flip side, this trade which was disappointing for Jets fans, helped lay the foundation for the wildly successful and profitable Arizona Coyotes. Even though their attendance is just slightly off the league average.
If it weren't for the likes of Kilger and Tverdosky and the droves of fans they brought in, this franchise would have been bankrupt a long time ago. So glad that didn’t happen...
Most Disappointing Jets Coach/Executive: Don Waddell
When you look at disappointing management, you don’t have to look any further than Don Waddell andthe whole Atlanta Spirit Organization, lovingly known in the state of Georgia as the Octocluster. His handy work is still being felt to this day. Waddell made more poor choices than a girl with low self esteem on prom night.
Back in 2006-2007 the Thrashers were on top of the Southeast and the seeds of the financial mess that would ultimately cause the team to move, were being sown. Waddell knew that he needed playoff success to try and get more butts in the seats, so he decided to mortgage the future for playoff success.
At the deadline, Waddell traded Glen Metropolit, 2007 1st round pick, 2007 3rd round pick, and the 2008 2nd round pick, for Keith Tkachuk.
And boy did that ever work out.
After exiting the first round, the Thrashers went into a tailspin. Tkachuk left and their one true superstar, Ilya Kovalchuk, decided he had enough of the clown show and wouldn’t agree to a long term deal. Waddell was forced to move Kovalchuk for Nicklas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier and Johnny Oduya. Only Cormier is still with the franchise, and even then will probably never make any real impact.
When it was announced that the Thrashers were truly in trouble and could leave Atlanta, Waddell was tasked with helping to try and find a new owner that would keep the team in the city.
We all know how well that turned out.
Most Disappointing Jets Fashion Choice: Thrashers Alternate Jersey
Many fashion experts complained (OK lonely guys on the internet), when the Jets 2.0 unveiled their new jerseys back in 2011. They were called bland, predictable, and overly militaristic. While they are understandably a little understated, they are by far not the worst this franchise has ever worn.
That honor would go to this atrocity. It's as if their marketing team said “Hey people like football down here. Lets make our jersey look like the Atlanta Falcons but way uglier.”
The mishmash of different colors, the number on the front, and the angry bird reject on the shoulders make this jersey look schizophrenic. It's like they asked a bunch of kindergartners with ADHD to come up with a design and then chose the worst.
Now this is not saying the other jerseys they wore in Hotlanta weren't hot messes as well. The bird on the front, coincidentally called a ‘Thrasher’, looks like it's trapped in a whirlpool getting ready to spin to its death. Another alternate jersey shows you the view from the top for some reason, which makes it look like a rejected starship design from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
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Other disappointments (in order of appearance): New York Rangers • Calgary Flames • St. Louis Blues • New York Islanders • Dallas Stars • Boston Bruins • Colorado Avalanche • Washington Capitals • Ottawa Senators • Arizona Coyotes • Minnesota Wild • Edmonton Oilers • San Jose Sharks • New Jersey Devils • Los Angeles Kings • Florida Panthers • Carolina Hurricanes • Buffalo Sabres • Montreal Canadiens • Tampa Bay Lightning • Chicago Blackhawks • Columbus Blue Jackets • Nashville Predators • Detroit Red Wings • Anaheim Ducks • Philadelphia Flyers • Pittsburgh Penguins • Vancouver Canucks • Toronto Maple Leafs