I’m not as excited as some are for the Jets to return to Winnipeg for games 3 and 4 vs. the Oilers.
During the regular season, the Jets were Road Warriors putting up an impressive 17-10-1 record while at home they were a dismal 13-13-2.
Why? Here’s my opinion. The league changed the rules because of the pandemic. In early February, the NHL established a new policy on player access to the arena on game night. The protocol stated that players were "not permitted to arrive at the game arena more than 1 hour and 45 minutes before puck drop," unless it was for the treatment of injuries. The thinking was that the restricted entry time would "minimize the period of time for possible exposure and transmission of COVID-19 while Players are gathered at the arena." The rule was later modified from a mandate to a mere suggestion.
Professional hockey players love routines. Many arrive at the rink on game day early, get a work out in, have the trainers work over aches and pains, have a little food, but most importantly, bond with their fellow players and relax. Even when it went from a mandate to a “suggestion” many were forced to stay home; home filled with many responsibilities, like kids that need remote learning. The players got to the rink early for some peace and quiet, the kind they got on the road in luxurious hotels. They were able to focus on the game. The road record results spoke for itself.
The Jets face the Oilers Sunday at 6:30pm at Bell MTS Place. They defeated the Oilers twice in their building. Winnipeg has played 2 near perfect games. Let’s hope the wash, rinse, repeat method is adhered to. Hell, if I was the team brain trust I would have rented out a hotel to do everything exactly the same as they did in Edmonton. They have shown they can beat the Oilers and let’s hope that this continues.