Tuesday, 5 November 2019

That's Winnipeg

Well, it seems the city that I call home has topped another list that one would believe should bother me, but it doesn't. In fact, I'm quite content with being numero uno on the list that we topped as ESPN went out and did an NHL player poll and asked all sorts of questions that generated a whole range of answers. Winnipeg, known for cold winters and boisterous fans, made the list in one major category, and it's something that, for all intents and purposes, shouldn't bother anyone who lives here.

According to ESPN, 42% of the players polled said Winnipeg was their number-one choice when it came to "Which road city do you dread the most". Again, one can look at that and think that the 42% of players who suggested Winnipeg are jerks and don't deserve to play here with that kind of attitude, but I would suggest that we should be happy that opposing players don't like coming here. If there's a psychological advantage to gain, why not take it?

According to one player, "Winnipeg. It's always cold. Tough rink to play in. It's just dirty - you walk around the city and feel like you need to wash your face after you go outside. So nothing about it is very exciting."

Hey, Winnipeg is cold in winter! Did you also know water is wet and sugar is sweet? No one should be surprised by this comment, and the "dirty" comment is likely a reflection of the use of sand on the streets in the winter that turn everything a gray-brown colour that - surprise, surprise! - makes everything dirty. As for washing one's face, I'm not sure where that comes from, but to each their own.

The piece in that statement that stands out is "tough rink to play in" because we've heard players say the atmosphere at BellMTS Centre is electric. From the crowd chanting at players to the cheers and jeers that are delivered with each big hit to simply playing a Jets team feeding off the crowd's energy, BellMTS Centre should always be a tough place to play for anyone not wearing a Jets jersey on the ice.

A second player piped up and said, "Winnipeg is just depressing. You don't even want to leave the hotel to get a cup of coffee."

Ok, fine. One is entitled to one's opinion, but this is where the psychological battle is won. If a player doesn't want to be here, he likely won't be dialed in when it comes time to play. Getting hyped when one feels depressed is a little easier said than done, so the Jets should be using this information to their advantage by coming out of the tunnel with all sorts of energy in the early stage of the game. Get on teams early if they're not wanting to be here, and make them hate Winnipeg a little more by sending them home with a loss.

I get that Winnipeg isn't Florida or California or Texas or Arizona, and it will never be any of those warm-weather states. Winnipeggers know that it drops to -40 Celsius in the winter and that sand is essential for traction on the roads. While we complain about it and poke fun at it, life goes on as Winnipeg keeps moving. We bundle up with an extra layer or two, we all drive cars that are some hue of gray-brown, and we continue to cheer for the Jets in the dead of winter. That's Winnipeg in a nutshell.

While it's a far stretch to suggest that opposing players will ever develop some sort of "Philly flu" while visiting Winnipeg as they did when visiting the Flyers in the 1970s, perhaps it would be good for these players who complain about Winnipeg to ask to be healthy-scratched when visiting here so they can rejoin their teammates at the airport once the game is over so they don't have to endure this wretched city and all its depressing features. I'll issue an apology for our lack of heat and the amount of dirt that don't meet one's lofty standards for playing hockey in exchange for more healthy scratches from players who don't like it here.

Seems like a fair deal for everyone, right? And just so we're clear...

'Nuff said.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: