Winnipeg Jets fans earn third star of elimination game, courtesy of Sportsnet (Photo)

Greg Wyshynski

Without question, the most impressive thing about the Winnipeg Jets in their first-round battle with the Anaheim Ducks were the Winnipeg fans.

Granted, this is because the Jets were swept and their goalie transformed back into a sieve, but it’s also because they were deafening and passionate and supported their team even during the handshake line in the first playoff games in Winnipeg since 1996.

For that, Jets fans earned the third star of the game from Sportsnet.

(Not from the official press box three stars, mind you, who were given to Ducks star Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano and Mark Stuart.)

We have two reactions to this. Perhaps you’ll share one of them.

Hooray! What an hono(u)r for the long-suffering fans of Winnipeg, whose raucous support of the Jets not only provided a lure for the NHL to bring a franchise back to Manitoba but powered their team to an unlikely playoff berth. The atmosphere they created will not soon be forgotten; an argument could be made they deserved first star.

Boo! What, was Ray Emery not eligible!?

The Ducks swept them, meaning the Jets have now matched the ignominious playoff legacy of the Atlanta Thrashers. All the lung-bleeding cheering from Jets fans resulted in were consecutive losses, and it actually fed the demon that lives inside of Ryan Kesler. Rewarding these fans is an extension of the “everyone gets a participation ribbon!” response to the Jets getting swept, like they were a wide-eyed puppy that accidentally stumbled into a greyhound race rather than an NHL team with NHL players who -- oh we, don’t know -- eliminated the reigning Stanley Cup Champions.

Eh, we’re just curmudgeons. We love Jets fans. Maybe next time their team will actually give them something to cheer for.

s/t David Gerow for image