Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 11/11/11 at 01:59 AM ET
On the day that Canada Post unveiled a few Winnipeg Jets commemorative stamps - yeah, they still make stamps and apparently we should care - the Jets absolutely mailed it in tonight in a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers where they looked listless at best and sloppy at worst.
Oh, before I go any further, allow me to take a second to say how completely classless I thought it was that TSN Jets cut away during the moment of silence in memory of Canadians lost/engaged in combat. I don’t know if it the same thing happened on Shaw or Bell, but the MTS feed cut away to an ad for some damn thing called a No No (I think it’s a hair remover for ladies) instead of observing the moment of silence at the rink. I don’t know who was responsible, but it was totally bush league and classless. Whatever you do, don’t tell Don Cherry.
Anyway, the Jets came out strong in the first few minutes, although they couldn’t capitalize on an early power play. Then something funny happened - well, if you’re a Jets fan, it probably wasn’t too funny. The team went over twenty minutes without a shot hitting the net. From midway through the first period until the same point in the second, the Jets didn’t register one single shot on goal.
In the battle of ex-Stanley Cup-winning Hawks, Kris Versteeg reigned supreme over Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien, starting the scoring for the Panthers (of course he did - I sat him on my fantasy hockey team) with a puck that rebounded off of Zach Bogosian’s skate and right on to his stick. He then potted the second one on a power play with some nice hand-eye coordination in the slot above Ondrej Pavelec before completing the hat trick on the Panthers’ fifth goal, an empty-netter late in the third.
Penalties continue to be a problem for the Jets. Jason Garrison scored the Panthers’ third goal (to takle the 3-0 lead) on a delayed penalty call; the Jets then immediately were shorthanded again, managing to escape that penalty without getting score on. A (questionable) slashing call on Dustin Byfuglien late in the second period resulted in Mike Santorelli putting the Panthers up 4-0.
I know a lot of Jets fans will preach the officiating was terrible in both the Sabres and Panthers games - give me a break. Sometimes it seems a team develops a reputation as one that’s regularly penalized (as the Jets have), and the penalties just come a little more easily. That doesn’t mean the infractions didn’t happen - the Jets do, in fact, make a lot of undisciplined plays that result in a lot of penalties called against them.
Peter Mannino - called up from the St. John’s IceCaps after Chris Mason was put on the injured reserve - started in net for the third period. He provided a small spark - Tim Stapleton potted one early (his first - I’m looking at you, Blake Wheeler), then Andrew Ladd did the same a few minutes later - but it wasn’t enough. Ten shots through the first two periods couldn’t be undone by the 17 the Jets posted in the third, and another slashing call against Dustin Byfuglien effectively killed any momentum that had been building throughout the third. The empty netter sealed the deal.
Jets fans certainly shouldn’t get too cocky as their team heads to Columbus to tangle with the basement-dwelling Blue Jackets. Based on what I saw against Florida, the Jets can’t afford to mail in another one like they did last night. And of course the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town next week - if they employ the 1-3-1 defensive setup (or whatever you want to call it) against a team like the Jets, who the heck knows what the end result could be. All I know is it won’t be pretty.
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About Benny and the Jets
Fifteen years ago, Ben's beloved Winnipeg Jets left town. He begrudgingly turned to the Montreal Canadiens for comfort and found none, and is now struggling to find a place in his heart for the Winnipeg Jets v2.0.
Ben is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer that writes a lot about wine and beer. Expect his son to be drafted into the NHL in 2025.