Jury weighs in on Jets

Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel watches his team against the Washington Capitals during the...

Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel watches his team against the Washington Capitals during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Washington March 23, 2012. (REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

Paul Friesen, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

WINNIPEG - It’s time to check in with our jury, see if they’re getting closer to a final verdict on the Winnipeg Jets.

You may recall we began these deliberations 10 days ago, when the Jets had 12 games left to either be cleared or found guilty of the same crimes committed in their previous lives as the Atlanta Thrashers.

That is, continually failing to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Actually, this wasn’t just about whether the Jets would be in the post-season tournament. It’s how they conducted themselves trying to get there.

If they made a stirring run and fell just short, we might be able to agree they’d acquitted themselves reasonably well in their first season in the ‘Peg.

But if they faded right out of the picture, relegating the last handful of games as meaningless, we’d have no choice but to declare them guilty of impersonation.

New ID and different clothes, maybe, but the same old con artist wearing them.

So, to the deliberation room we go.

Juror No. 1

Saw the Jets deliver an inspiring hometown performance against the Washington Capitals, looking every bit like a team determined to ditch its shady past. Most impressive was an airtight defence that didn’t rely on Ondrej Pavelec facing nasty cross examination.

Initial vote: a resounding, “Not guilty.”

Juror No. 2

Watched the Jets take on a different persona 48 hours later, retreating to the neighbourhoods and dark alleys inhabited by losers. The fact it happened at home was particularly shocking. All motivation to change appeared to be gone.

Initial vote: an equally resounding, “Guilty.”

Juror No. 3

This one weighed evidence from the road, where the Jets act like no one’s watching. Sure enough, they were undependable, loose with their checks and visited the same questionable haunts that got them into trouble the last time they were in Pittsburgh.

Initial vote: “Guilty.”

Juror No. 4

Ready to lock the Jets up and throw away the key, this juror saw some dramatic, late evidence come in from unlikely sources in Washington. Three relative unknowns people rescued the Jets from what could have been a mug-shot ugly night.

Initial vote: “Undecided.”

Juror No. 5

Our last to weigh in wasn’t impressed, having seen the evidence in Nashville, Saturday. Apparently relying on the same people who bailed them out the last time, the Jets barely mustered up an argument. The continuing delinquency of key people is proving impossible to overcome.

Initial vote: “Guilty.”

As you can see, things don’t look good.

Our jury is clearly leaning towards a guilty verdict, by a 3-1 count, with one undecided.

Sources say Juror No. 1 is wavering, too.

There are still seven to be heard from, of course, and if they all come down on the side of the Jets, they could still swing the decision.

But when you’re in this much trouble, it’s hard to get out. The evidence is piling up.

The most damning: with 78 points through 75 games, today’s Jets are a mere two points better than the Thrashers were at the same time, last year.

The suits told us this fellow was young and improving, on his way up society’s ladder.

They’re running out of time to prove it.


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