Gary Bettman's Frankenstein experiment ended up being the roadblock to the best Winnipeg Jets season in their NHL history. The Jets can hold their heads high, despite the lack of timely offence in the Western Conference final. Winnipeg can say with pride that the team won the "Norris" division title in the postseason.
The Jets have been consistent in not falling into long bad streaks. Before the series, Winnipeg hadn't had back-to-back losses since March 10-12 and hadn't had 3 straight regulation losses in over a year.
For the first 4 games, the desert team responded quickly in crucial moments with a goal following a Jets goal. Even in Game 5, that team got the goal when needed.
Mark Scheifele ended the postseason with 14 goals, 11 on the road setting a new NHL record. Scheifele had 2 of those road goals in Game 3 from primary assists by Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor, respectively. Game 4 goals came from Patrik Laine and Tyler Myers. Josh Morrissey ended up with the lone goal in Game 5.
Connor Hellebuyck might not have been as sharp in the last few games but had excellent postseason numbers.
The Jets were only outscored by 4 goals in the Western Conference final.
No Canadian NHL team has won the Stanley Cup in the last 25 years.
Back to Bettman's science project, the NHL did heavily cheat for the newest desert team in the expansion draft. The NHL allowed its teams to protect only 7 forwards, 3 defencemen and 1 goalie, or 8 skaters and 1 goalie. During the last NHL expansion in 2000, teams were allowed to protect 9 forwards, 5 defencemen and 1 goalie, or 7 forwards, 3 defencemen, and 2 goalies.
"The league also required teams to expose players with significant NHL experience who were under contract through next season, closing loopholes and helping Vegas even more. Third-line forwards and top-four defencemen were available from almost every team," noted this analysis.
NBC had more time before Game 1 to tell the Winnipeg story for those who missed the Winnipeg Whiteout video that NBC aired before Game 1 or if you want to watch the segment again. The network played clips from the video before Game 5. A nice nod to showing the Manitoba legislative building (above) before Game 5.
The NBCU coverage didn't air anthems in the desert but did air that garish pregame ritual. The NHL should frown upon a team ritual against the opponent before the game. Looks petty and unprofessional.
At the conference final stage, there is simply no reason to not show the anthems. NBCU did show the anthems in Winnipeg for Game 5.
NBCU finally had a Winnipeg Jets player as the pregame interview in Patrik Laine in Game 5. We had seen countless opponents interviewed on Winnipeg ice and elsewhere but this was the first Jet to get that interview.
NBCU kept the on-air team consistent for the last 3 games with Kenny Albert, Joe Micheletti, and Brian Boucher. Pierre McGuire was in for Boucher for the first 2 game in Winnipeg.
The NHL Network ran a rebroadcast for Game 3 but used the NBCSN feed instead of the CBC feed. The channel didn't even have a rebroadcast for Game 4. The NHL Network did run a CBC version for Game 5.
photo credit: NBC/NHL