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Jets GM Cheveldayoff preaching patience

TSN.ca Staff

10/21/2011 10:23:08 PM

The return of the Jets has brought a lot of excitement to fans in Winnipeg, and with that also comes a lot of expectations for the team. After a slow start out of the gate - the Jets are 1-4-1 through their first six games - general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is preaching patience.

"Just because the Atlanta Thrashers moved north to Winnipeg, that doesn't mean they automatically become a winning hockey team," Cheveldayoff told TSN Radio 1290 in Winnipeg.

"I've said it a couple times already: we drafted seventh last year," added Cheveldayoff. "When you're drafting at seven, that means there's lots of room for improvement somewhere."

The Thrashers finished with the league's sixth-worst record last year at 34-36-12. They drafted seventh after falling one spot in the draft lottery.

Cheveldayoff did, however, say he's excited about the young talent on the Jets. But with young players comes a growing stage until they develop into consistent contributors.

"If you look at the organization, it has some good young pieces. Ask anyone and I think they'll agree, after six games they've seen some good things out of some young players.  But they've seen some inconsistencies out of some young players and some veteran players as well.

"Just to think that you pack up your bags and move a couple thousand miles north into a hockey-crazy market is going to turn a team from a (seventh-last) place finisher into an automatic contender - it doesn't just work that way."

 That being said, the Jets GM told TSN 1290 that fan expectations are a good thing.

"I love the fact that the fans think that and hope that, and I hope they never lose the passion for that because that's what drives everything."

When asked if any moves were on the horizon in an attempt to kick start the Jets out of their early season struggles, Cheveldayoff said a lot of thought has to go into any potential trades.

"This isn't fantasy hockey. You can't call up your buddy and say, 'Hey, this will be fun, let's do it.' Every move that you make has both short-term and long-term ramifications that will have a ripple effect throughout the organization, not only for the now, but for the future."

"I'd be lying if I didn't say that at some point in time those thoughts do go through your mind," Cheveldayoff continued. "But it's a very long season - we're not even a month in. There's going to be lots of highs, there's going to be lots of low."

While Jets fans are pining for a winner right off the bat, Cheveldayoff said he has to stick with the long-term approach for building success.

"The National Hockey League is back (in Winnipeg). We have to embrace it, we have to enjoy it, but with it you have to understand this is an extremely competitive league. It's a tough league to win.

"The reality is you have to be patient."