ANALYSIS: Only one ‘first place’ matters for Winnipeg Jets

I’ve had to pinch myself about six times over the weekend … and honestly, it’s still something that I’m having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around.

A team from Winnipeg, the Jets, can’t be in first place in the entire National Hockey League, can they?

Apparently, it’s true — and checking the standings about 20 times over the last 48 hours has confirmed that, 20 straight times.

It’s happened. They’re there. Right at the top.

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So, what does this mean?

Well, I would be the ultimate cynic not to suggest that this is anything short of an incredible achievement for this group and further proof that if each guy on each line, and each defensive pairing, and each netminder holds true to each other, there is nothing that they cannot do, no team they cannot beat, and nothing they cannot accomplish.

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It’s simply confirmation that the Winnipeg Jets are a true Stanley Cup contender and, by gosh, they may even be a frontrunner.

But, really … what does this mean?

It means that right now, on Jan. 8, 2024, they’re in first place … and that will be a stat that only the most die-hard fan will be able to provide as the years go on.

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Everyone remembers who hoists the Stanley Cup, but a Google search and a trip to Wikipedia usually follows when someone asks the question, “Yeah, I know they won it all, but who won the President’s Trophy that year?”

The last team to win the Stanley Cup after finishing as the first-place team in the NHL after the regular season was the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012. The time before that was Detroit in 2008.

In the President’s Trophy’s 37-year history, only eight teams have won it all — a win rate of 22 per cent.

So, as it sits today — as it will also in June — the only first place that really matters is the last team remaining.

Click to play video: 'John Shannon on the Jets: January 3'

John Shannon on the Jets: January 3

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