Breaking down the secret of the Winnipeg Jets and their major success

Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

In 2006, Rhonda Byrne released a self-help book entitled “The Secret”. It is based on the belief of the pseudoscientific “law of attraction”.  The law of attraction is the spiritual belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. In essence, positive “vibes” are the key to financial, spiritual and personal success. Despite all its scientific claims being uniformly debunked, “The Secret” became a gigantic best-seller.

I am now a believer in “The Secret” as it pertains to the Winnipeg Jets.

The Winnipeg Jets have won 8 of their last 9 games and sit atop the Western Conference (tied for 3rd overall in NHL standings). In that span, they have scored 35 goals while allowing only 22. Their powerplay and penalty kill have clocked in at a blistering 30.8% and 93% respectively.

Yet, during this stretch, they have been outshot by 263 to 256, and their possession metrics are below average. I no longer care.

Winnipeg Jets fans and media witnessed a felicitous 180-degree shift in tone and tenure before the start of this season. The “vibes” were stratospheric, and there was an outward organizational projection of self-belief. For years, the Jets have been a talented team, with high-end scoring and elite goaltending, but something always felt superficially lacking. While “The Secret” itself is a hoax, I do believe that the cohesion and buy-in from this group of players and coaches are not.

Whatever the Winnipeg Jets are doing, it is working

The Jets’ top line of Connor-Dubois-Ehlers have already established themselves as one of the league’s best, and boast an xGoals % of 63% in limited minutes. Connor Hellebuyck continues to be one of the leaders in “Goals Saved Above Expected”, and Josh “Norrissey” is a Norris candidate. Corsi and Fenwick be damned, this team is winning at an alarming rate.

The Jets’ “vibes” were once used as a bit of a punchline for slaggarts like myself, but the joke is on me. It is evident that this team is performing better than the sum of its parts. The return of Nik Ehlers and the mentorship of Coach Bones can attribute to some of the Jets’ recent success. However, don’t sleep on the quietly positive influence Nate Schmidt seems to have on his line-mates and the impact of guys like Strenlund and Kulman in the rotation.

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“The Secret” was a drastic oversimplification of universally complex problems, but positive vibes seem to have elevated this team from ‘promising’ to Stanley Cup contender. I for one…. am a believer.