Prior to the Winnipeg Jets final regular season meeting with the Florida Panthers (which turned out to be the funnest game to go to as a Jet when it came to being absolutely bored in the third period after a 7-2 win), I read the Winnipeg Free Press and immediately was upset by the headline: "Ghosts of Atlanta".
Then, on Thursday, April 11, I had a reason to be angry. The Jets were still pursuing a playoff spot - something the former Atlanta Thrashers had a very poor habit of doing - and to top it off, the Jets were starting to play some good hockey.
That 7-2 win was the middle of the Jets current five game winning streak. So what's with this "Ghosts of Atlanta" garbage anyway?
Is membership down for the Winnipeg Free Press?
Official paper of the Winnipeg Jets? Right. I want to read a paper that always compares my hockey team to their former selves all the time (tongue firmly in cheek).
In fact, between when the Thrashers made their only trip to the post-season in the 2007 playoffs and their final season in Atlanta, their stretch runs were nothing to write home about.
In 2007-08, the Thrashers picked up only 11 points in 15 March games, while compiling a 4-8-3 record, including a five game losing streak that all but secured them 14th place with 76 points (18 points out) and a quality tee time.
In 2008-09, the Thrashers had a strong March, winning many one goal games, but a lackluster start to the season saw them bow out and finish in a familiar 14th place with 76 points (17 points out)
In 2009-10, a poor start to March did them in with a five game losing streak from March 6th to 12th along with losing seven of their last ten games only picking up eight possible points for a 10th place finish with 83 points (five points out)
And in 2010-11, if anyone needs reminding here, the Thrashers once again tanked in March en route to losing out in the Southeast Division sweepstakes and winning only ten games in the final three months of the season. In their final season, they finished in a dismal 12th place with 80 points (13 points out) and a relocation trip to Winnipeg.
Now last year's 11th place finish (12 points out) was not any improvement, but that was last year's team and that was last's years playoff drive.
And yes, the Jets did start to tank things a bit come mid-March, but they have managed to do something that the other guys didn't do very often (save 2009-10) - start a winning streak when it matterered and be tied for a spot with five or less games remaining.
Since the Jets are getting no help from the likes of the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, or Ottawa Senators these days (not to mention the Toronto Maple Leafs, whom Jets fans do not want to get a playoff berth on their watch), the Jets have focused on the task at hand and won their first five games as a franchise since November 2010.
But my reaction and sentiment remain the same: We are Winnipeg! Not Atlanta!
So stop with the same old, same old garbage saying we are Atlanta, becasue we are not.
If we were Atlanta, the MTS Centre would have crickets occupying the 300's and have a goal horn that made 75% of the noise when our team scored.
And also have a team that would not be in this close of a playoff run.