As blizzard approaches, Jets rush out of Florida

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It’s a fitting, albeit crude, interruption to a hockey season that hasn’t gone to plan all along.

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A short night’s sleep after returning from Montreal, the Winnipeg Jets hastily boarded another charter flight Tuesday and left town to escape the approaching blizzard.

So what should have been a near-perfect home game against the expansion Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night is pushed back to May 1, a Sunday morning at 1 p.m. that will be the last game on the NHL’s regular-season schedule.

The Jet probably won’t need a helping hand at this point.

Because while they may have avoided getting snowed in this week, their playoff hopes will likely be buried knee-deep by the time they return in nine days.

It was always the journey that pushed things to breaking point for this underperforming band.

After a two-day respite in Florida while we dig in, the Jets will begin a four-game road trip against the Panthers on Friday.

It’s the Eastern Conference-leading Panthers with 108 points (going into their game Tuesday night), in case anyone needs a refresher.

The following night, the Jets face the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning – a back-to-back to break your back.

The journey will only heat up.

Next Tuesday, the Jets are in the Big Apple to face the Rangers, another 100-point team — and another potentially fatal bite out of their playoff chances.

The Jets end this road trip next Thursday in Carolina where, you guessed it, the Panthers are also part of the Century Club, which has only five members.

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Of those five, the Jets play three on this trip.

Remember that Winnipeg can’t afford to lose even one of their last eight games, that’s how precarious they’ve put themselves in.

If that’s not enough to get even the most optimistic fan to put down their snow shovel long enough to throw in the towel, also remember that all of this is likely happening without center Mark Scheifele, who appeared to be significantly damaged. the shoulder by taking a success in Ottawa last Sunday.

It could also happen without their captain.

Blake Wheeler was sidelined with an upper body condition for which he was receiving treatment on the road in Ottawa and Montreal.

He made the trip to Florida, so it’s possible he’ll play at some point.

Still, things are gloomier than the midwinter landscape in Manitoba.

So while the Jets may relax in sunny Florida for a few days, their playoff chances aren’t heating up.

It’s probably best that they lock in those long odds, though.

“I don’t think you can really afford to talk about it,” defender Josh Morrissey said after Monday’s 4-2 win in Montreal. “We’re just trying to win games, get two points, one point, whatever you can do, and hope to get help from other teams. But I don’t think we’re really talking about anything. bigger than the next game. You can’t really look too far into the future.

“We know where we are.”

At the time, Morrissey didn’t know they would be on a flight to Miami the next day, even though he had heard the doomsday weather forecast.

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“We did it for sure,” he said. “It sounds pretty crazy. Of all things, it’s beyond our control, isn’t it? »

That morning, as the Jets prepared to face the Canadiens, emergency talks between the team, the league and the airlines began.

Winnipeg’s four-game road trip was the primary consideration.

The league wanted to postpone as few games as possible, so getting the Jets out of town before they got snowy made the most sense.

Seattle planned to fly to Winnipeg late Tuesday night, after playing in Calgary. Instead, they would fly straight home, where they will face New Jersey on Saturday.

The decision fell early Tuesday and was made public in the afternoon, with the Jets already on a plane and diverting their attention from the Kraken and the considerably more difficult task at hand.

As Morrissey said, it was out of their control.

But so does their fate in the playoffs.

And it’s not something anyone had in their spring 2022 predictions.

MOOSE, FOG ON ICE

The Winnipeg Jets aren’t the only local hockey team struggling due to this week’s blizzard.

The Jets’ AHL farm team, the Manitoba Moose, postponed a home game against Rockford to Sunday at 2 p.m., scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. Saturday’s game against the IceHogs, also at 2 p.m., is still ongoing.

The Western League’s Winnipeg Ice postponed Thursday’s game against Regina, but did not immediately announce a catch-up date.

BOMBARDIERS ADD A LINEBACKER

The snow should be gone – hopefully – by the time the Winnipeg Blue Bombers open training camp on May 15. Rookie report May 11.

The two-time defending Gray Cup champions have added Canadian linebacker Eric Mezzalira to their roster.

Mezzalira, 28, is a former second-round draft pick from Calgary who spent 2018 and 2019 with the Stampeders and last season on Toronto’s sparring roster.

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