Editor, White Cover Magazine
Regret is perhaps the worst part of anything. It’s that sickening feeling you get in your gut that tells you, no matter what you do from this point on, you’ll never be as good as you could have. You’ll always think about missed opportunities, blown chances, and a botched whatever.
For the Winnipeg Jets, regrets are a clear and present danger.
They’ll keep winning from now until the end of April, and they won’t make the playoffs. They can’t make the playoffs, until everything crumbles in the Nation’s Capital — and, I don’t mean the one in D.C.
Unless Ottawa somehow tanks every night — and, unless the Jets can win everything in from of them from this point on — the 2013 regular season will end with Winnipeg at its final casualty, and everyone will wonder how it happened, and they’ll turn to each other while the playoffs get rip-roaring going in May, and they’ll say, “Wait, wasn’t Winnipeg, like, just in third place?”
Problem 1, of course, is that the Washington Capitals woke up. Alex Ovechkin is again looking like the guy that had us all asking “Crosby, Who?” four years ago, and Nicklas Backstrom is once again the underrated version of Patrick Kane. Braden Holtby and Mike Green have re-emerged as true starting stars, and the Caps are flying in a way unseen from their own squad since 2010, when they were — for the last time — the most dangerous offensive force in the National Hockey League.
Problem 2, though, is Winnipeg itself. Well, not the city, but the Jets.
Ladd and Co. could have had this thing wrapped up a long time ago. All they had to do was play coherent hockey. Of course, they went on to have a disastrous March, highlighted — rather, footnoted — by two straight losses to the Washington Capitals where they were outscored 10-1, in a pathetic home stand the Winnipeg Sun called “deja-boo”. They went from the third seed in the East to a team that wasn’t just barely clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot, but to a team that looked like it might never win again.
The Jets decided to slack off and count their chickens and the last and worst possible moment. When push came to shove, they didn’t get themselves to the net for any of Evander Kane’s one million rebounds, and they couldn’t hold their own against almost any opponent fighting for the same thing they were — a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Now, the Jets find themselves pounding a noodle against a shoelace hole.
They keep winning and winning, and they keep expecting something to happen. They keep scoring two points after two points, and then they look up at the end to see the standings haven’t changed.
The Rangers and the Islanders just kept winning, and the Washington Capitals were long gone by the time Winnipeg realized they were even in the game. The Senators started losing, but now the Jets face the one thing no hockey team needs to face, which is another team controlling their own destiny.
If the Senators win just once, this thing’s basically over.
Winnipeg and kick and scream and yell and wonder why, oh why they had to be so unlucky. Only, they weren’t unlucky. Eight teams make the playoffs. Seven don’t.
Right now, Winnipeg’s not worthy.