All season long, the Jets have been trying to figure out why they play so well in Winnipeg (22-10-4)…yet so badly on the road (11-19-4).
The usual theories have been bandied about — referee bias, travel, crowds, comfort levels — but Justin Carré, a psychology professor at Wayne State University, might’ve unearthed something else:
Carré has done studies on hockey players that show their testosterone level increases significantly before home games. Testosterone levels were also higher after victories at home than on the road, his studies showed. Other research has shown players can increase their testosterone levels by watching a video of their team winning.
But if that happens before a road game, Carré has found that players actually perform worse than at home. He isn’t sure why, but he suspects that the aggressive play turns into penalties on the road and smarter plays at home.
Carré said plenty of other studies have shown similar traits in animals. Tests on mice indicate they protect their “home” cages far more vigorously, and even fish put up more of a fight at home.
Wonder what a fish turf war sounds like.
“HEY, GET OUT OF MY CERAMIC CASTLE! YOU GET THE SUNKEN TREASURE SHIP. WE DISCUSSED THIS!”
Anyway, as for the Jets…while they weren’t claiming to experience hormone spikes at the MTS Center, they did acknowledge there’s something at play.
“The mindset at home is we are going to win,” Blake Wheeler said. “On the road it’s like we’re trying our darnedest to make it work.”
Head coach Claude Noel thinks the rabid Jets fans might have something to do with it — namely, that the players feel more responsible in front of their own fans.
“There’s an accountability factor at home,” Noel said. “There is on the road, but the accountability factor on the road is more internal, like in the locker room.”
Of note, the Jets will take their
jacked up testosterone levels impressive home record into tonight’s huge contest against Washington. Winnipeg currently sits four points back of the Caps for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.