It is looking more and more like the next time the Winnipeg Jets take to the ice, it will be against the Calgary Flames as the NHL puts some final touches on its proposed expanded 24 team playoff format.
And while fans do seem split on the idea of hockey coming back this summer with the threat of COVID-19 still looming over us, there seems to be little doubt from Twitter users who responded to our poll on Thursday that the Jets would fare well against the Flames.
To Finish Or Cancel The 2019-20 Season
With the NHL and (to a bit of a lesser degree) the NHLPA very intent in figuring out how to get back on the ice, while hockey media – likely desperate for something new to cover beyond zoom teleconferences – enthusiastically supporting a return, hockey fans in general would appear to be of two minds when it comes to a return of the sport.
As of mid-May, are you still wanting to see the conclusion of the 2019-20 NHL season (be it the season proper, or one of the proposed expanded tournaments), or are you wanting the whole thing to be canceled?
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) May 18, 2020
This poll was posted before the 24 team playoff format gained traction with the league and players association over the last few days. We asked for your opinion and whether or not the fact that the Jets would be part of the expanded playoffs made you more open to summer hockey.
The ones who are in favor of summer playoff hockey made it clear. As long as it is done safely, drop the puck!
If: (1) Jets in, (2) safety measures for the players, (3) safely broadcasted live – then, I’m down for whatever!
— calvin (@_lcalvi) May 21, 2020
I am just happy hockey would be back, and really as long as the Jets are in it I do not care about the format, the match ups will all be exciting.
— Josh Mertens (@Mertz1213) May 22, 2020
IF everything can go safely I'm all for it! Don't get the people saying it wouldn't mean anything when the reality of it is…THIS Cup would be harder to win than EVER before! There'd be 24 teams instead of 16! More teams to go through!
— Justin Silva (@Agent_Silva) May 21, 2020
As long as Jets are in it I don’t care. And it can be done as safe as possible. Give me hockey!
— MLSK (@mlseens) May 21, 2020
As a born Winnipeger living in Calgary, I'm very ok with this proposed 24 team playoff.
— Matthew Mark (@MatthewJDMark) May 22, 2020
It’s worth noting that with the proposed 24 team playoff, training camps likely wouldn’t be until mid to late June and games wouldn’t be happening until July, carrying on through August and the awarding of the Stanley Cup likely happening in early September. This would push the 2020-21 season back to possibly a December or even January start.
With that, along with general health concerns weighing heavy on most people’s minds, there are others who are ready to scrap this season completely and wait a few extra months so that we can have a full hockey season that starts in October like it does pretty much every year.
I don't know if it's a great idea. We're still not out of this, and there's definitely a risk. I think the question is…..will players be forced to play? Are some of them not wanting to risk it? Will the NHLPA support them?
— Dean (@SwiftNinjaCow) May 21, 2020
Start fresh in October…let the draft proceed online with teams standings stopping where each team has played the same amount of games
— Rick Pangman (@pangmanr) May 21, 2020
At this point, given the amount of time it will take to get everything organized, get players back in shape, etc it makes little sense to me. Cancel the season, cancel the playoffs. Start the next season as usual (if they can even do that).
— Kent Fast (@FastLaw) May 21, 2020
There are also a group of fans who view the idea of a modified playoff as one that won’t carry the same prestige as previous seasons.
Whatever happens this year will have an asterisk next to it, which will certainly have an effect on the sense of "accomplishment" that goes along with whoever wins the cup. It definitely won't be as impressive to me.
— Pat Zabłocki (@DetroitFiend) May 22, 2020
Fans Confident In Jets Versus Flames
Perhaps the result is skewed asking fans of a team that going into the unplanned pandemic break had a four game win streak, but when asking fans about what they expect in Jets versus Flames best of five series, the only thing that is in question is just how many games it would take the Jets to win the series.
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) May 21, 2020
For what it’s worth, the Flames had won three of their last four games before the break, but most fans seemed to feel that Connor Hellebuyck would be the difference in such a short series.