“Slap Shot” and the Winnipeg Jets

‘Tis the season of reflection and merriment. As a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, merriment is in limited supply these days, so we’ll need to artificially create it. At the risk of falling prey to a George Costanza-esque forced amalgam of combined interests, I wanted to combine my love of movies and the Winnipeg Jets.

To reflect on the Jets’ season thus far, I’m going to pay homage to the greatest sports movie ever made: “Slap Shot”. Released in February 1977, “Slap Shot” follows a beleaguered Reggie Dunlop (played by a surprisingly agile Paul Newman) through the trials and tribulations of minor hockey. It is a near-perfect puck opera that is more than just bloody brawls and sidesplitting antics. It’s the rare combination of both team-spirit uplift and period-appropriate ‘downer’ in a sports movie. In short: it’s incredible.

So, without further ado, instead of awards, I’m handing out 10 quotes and exchanges from “Slap Shot” to the best and worst of the Winnipeg Jets during this turbulent 2022 season:

1. Denis: “Joe, who own da Chiefs?”

Joe: “Owns! Owns!”

This is for David Thompson and Mark Chipman.

Who is running the show here gentleman? From the wildly disappointing and muted non-reaction following the Kyle Beach scandal, to the continued employment of Paul Maurice, it is difficult to determine who, if anyone, is making executive decisions within the Jets organization.

2. Reggie: “Dave’s a killer!”

Ned: “Dave’s a mess.”

This is for Logan Stanley.

Despite assurances from Winnipeg Jets broadcaster, and eternal optimist Kevin Sawyer, Logan Stanley has been a mess this season. His experiment on the second defensive unit was tragic, much like Dave “Killer” Carlson’s pugilism.

3. Reggie: “They brought their fucking toys!”

This is for our young guns, Cole Perfetti and Ville Heinola who continue to wait their turn – even as Blake Wheeler and Neal Pionk miss time. Enron levels of mismanaged resources here fellas.

4. Reggie: “Are you guys triplets or something?”

This is for Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Nik Ehlers.

All 3 forwards have been a revelation this season, and each has taken a leap forward in a myriad of ways. There is no NHL award for “Most Improved Player”, but if there was, PLD would be the unanimous choice.

5. Jim Carr: “Oh this young man has had a very trying season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country’s refusal to accept him, well, I guess that’s more than most 21-year-olds can handle.”

This is for Mark Scheifele.

“The Man Who Stares At Goats” has had a trying season indeed. With his suspension (for a Slap Shot inspired bounty), COVID, and getting sued by his personal chef, Mr. 55 has had a rough year. The good news is that his play has been terrific as of late, coinciding with a push to make the Canadian Olympic team.

6. Jack Hanson: “Reg is our coach.”

Steve Hanson: “Sure. Old time hockey.”

Jeff Hanson: “Like Eddie Shore.”

This is for Paul Maurice.

The Airport Lounge doesn’t like to wade in redundancies, but I’ll make an exception for Paul Maurice. The Jets lost back-to-back games against the struggling Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabers. I’m not sure what we are waiting for here. Or, put another way, “Piss on old time hockey”.

7. Ned: “What are you doing?

Steve Hanson: “Puttin’ on the foil!”

This is for Adam Lowry.

Adam ‘puts on the foil’ week after week, and game after game without much fanfare. While not scoring at the clip he was last year, he has been one of the most consistent Jets, and a steady presence.

8. Steve Hanson: “I’m listening to the fucking song”

This is for True North Entertainment.

Can we mix up the in-game entertainment a bit please? Blasting “Cotton-Eye Joe” at max decibel levels while doing potato chip ‘Trivia’ has grown a bit stale (like the chips). I understand that I am old and grumpy, but guess what, so are most Jets fans.

9. Denis: “I’m tired of it! Puke! Blah! All the time, puke!”

Reggie Dunlop: “You’re a goalie, you’re supposed to be like that.”

This is for Connor Hellebuyck.

Hellebuyck has been, and continues to be, our best player. I’m not sure if he’ll ever get tired of bailing out our abysmal penalty kill or defensive awareness, but I am thankful to have him. Also, goalies are weird.

10.  Reggie:Let ’em know you’re there! Get that stick in their side, let ’em know you’re there! Put some lumber in their teeth, let ’em know you’re there!”

This is for the Winnipeg Jets. Let’s let ‘em know you’re there Jets. We are a talented team with playoff and Stanley Cup aspirations, let ‘em know you’re there. Or, as the great goalie of the Charlestown Chiefs says: “you feel shame”.

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