Embrace the Fuck-Ups
I didn’t want to write about the crowd, or the atmosphere. That has been hashed over for the last three months through numerous Gary fucking Lawless articles and TSN player interviews but I will humour one more post on the subject. Consider this a final report on the hype.
October Ninth felt like a real hockey game. Sure the crowd was insane, but that ended quickly. Not long into the first period Mike Cammalleri showed the city that we can’t just drink and yell our way to playoffs. It doesn’t matter how many Winnipeg Sun front pages are devoted to our team, we will lose if we play shitty, and on Sunday, we played shitty.
This was the second Jets game I got to see in person from section 317, and things felt a little different on the ice. We looked intimidated, and out of sync. After the first ten minutes the crowd began to realize that our hockey team is going to need more than fan support if they are going to get anywhere near the post-season.
The chants died down, and the chit-chat stopped as fifteen thousand people intently watched their team as they try and find a groove. This is more valuable, more exciting and certainly more realistic then drunkly shouting Go-Jets-Go for two-thirds of a period. This is when we get to intimately know our team, and be part of the kind of relationship only an National Hockey League city gets to have with its team. It’s like waking up and finding your girlfriend drunkenly passed out on the couch wearing the dress she wore the night before. Not the most attractive moment to be sure, but one that makes you feel special for getting to see it, and it makes you love her even more. We need to get used that feeling, and learn to love it as much as the big win, because that what makes relationships healthy: embracing the fuck-ups.
Speaking of fucking up, Montreal steam rolled us! Each and every break-away they had they showed us that finesse offence is going to be a major threat to us this season. Our defence (looking at you number thirty three) came up a little to far and left holes that were quickly filled by Montreal’s speed. On top of that Montreal had their two line passing down pat, something that I don’t recall seeing Winnipeg try more than twice. When we finally did get the puck into their end there were some creative moments from behind the net and out side the slot but far to many passes were missed and a lot of shots went high. Players must have been gripping a little too tightly on their sticks Sunday night, and I really can’t blame them. The pressure of performing well on hockey’s holiest day must have been suffocating, and I really hope with a loss under their belts they can relax a little bit. A few games on the road is going to be a good way for the guys to gel away from the some-what foreboding MTS centre.
And yes, I meant to call our crowd foreboding. It’s easier to relax, and make the simple plays when no-one is watching, or the pressure of regular season isn’t on. Look at our pre-season performance for an example. We didn’t win every game, but we certainly weren’t trounced. I think the mental game has begun, and for better of for worse there are fifteen thousand excited, drunk and somewhat emotional men (and ladies) with a lot hung on this season. As fans I think we need to all relax a bit now, and realize we have a real team, and it’s time to treat them like one.