Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 12/22/11 at 07:45 PM ET
I wear a lot of hats: copywriter, wine columnist, parent, hockey blogger, etc. (I need to wear at least one hat - I’m balding horribly.) Juggling all this stuff can be tough - obviously Daddy duty comes first - especially since I’m looking to have my two year-old boy drafted in the first round of the NHL 2027 draft (he’ll then proceed to win many Norris trophies). So while I did watch most of the Jets/Isles game, blogging about it just wasn’t in the cards.
First of all, I didn’t get to watch the damn game until 11:30 - there was the whole taking care of the kids while my wife worked thing, then the fact that I had to hit a couple stores for Christmas gifts before finally getting home to fire up the PVR. And as I finished watching the third period round about 1:00 AM, I realized the PVR only caught about a minute of overtime and none of the shootout. So apologies for not being more on top of that.
Anyway, it was a pretty poor outing by the Jets, who should have built on the 5-3 victory over Anaheim over the weekend, and instead ended the game on the wrong end of a 3-2 shootout game. Evgeni Nabokov came in and shut down the Jets, who had driven Al Montoya from the net after he was run over by Evander Kane. Ondrej Pavelec played well for the Jets, keeping them from falling far behind the Isles early in the game.
One of the stranger moves by head coach Claude Noel was throwing Blake Wheeler out for the shootout. He had one of the worst games I’ve seen him play, yet he took the Jets’ first attempt in the shootout. Yeah, he’s got stickhandling moves galore, but he can’t pull the trigger at the best of times. Kyle Wellwood fared no better, with plenty of moves but no finish. Why not throw Andrew Ladd and Evander Kane out there? Both are sorta hot right now, and both charge the net quick without all the dipsy-doodles of Wheeler and Wellwood. P.A. Parenteau and Frans Nielsen did enough to shorten the shootout, as each beat Pavelec on their shots. Nieslen is a no-brainer for anyone that reads Backhand Shelf - obviously Pavelec doesn’t read the blog, as it was a textbook Nieslen backhand.
But enough about that game - tonight the Jets are at home to the reeling Montreal Canadiens, who haven’t graced the ice at the MTS Centre since the October 9 home opener which they won handily 5-1. Things have changed for both teams - the Jets have had great success at home, while the Habs have been borderline disastrous both before and after the firing of head coach Jacques Martin.
Most importantly - for me, at least - is that I’m going to my second Jets 2.0 game tonight, and it’s against the team I’ve cheered for since the original Jets left town. It’ll be my second game of the year but I can’t imagine there’ll be a game that’ll mean more to me than tonight’s match (an unlikely deep playoff run by the Jets notwithstanding). It’s tough to love (or even like) the Habs right now - they’re stinking it up on the ice, and the whole Randy Cunneyworth language thing is a gong show.
Complicating the matter is the fact that, as the Jets’ season has grinded (ground?) along, I’ve grown to appreciate - heck, like, even - the overall make up of the team. I guess it’s inevitable that you’ll see some stuff that you like when you watch every game, but I was as cynical as anyone when the season started. Despite my cringing at some of the local media homerism and the absolute carpet-bombing of the city with car flags of that mediocre logo, something about these Jets has finally tugged at the proverbial heartstrings. I’ve had lots of people asking me who I’m cheering for, if I’ll be decked out in a Habs jersey (I won three versus none of the new Jets jersey), etc…
It’s a bit of a cop-out, but I’ve decided to go into the game neutral-ish. The Habs have been pretty brutal and the Jets have shown promise… and little by (Bryan?) little, they’re carving out a corner for themselves in my initially cynical heart.
Peter Budaj started in nets for the Habs in Chicago last night, so expect Carey Price between the pipes tonight. At the other end, the Jets play the first of a back-to-back, and it sounds like Ondrej Pavelec gets the nod for the Jets tonight - a bit surprising, as that means Chris Mason (and his new pads) is likely in tomorrow against the Penguins. Oh, and speaking of Bryan Little, he’s not in the lineup tonight.
Look for me in the crowd - I’ll be the guy in the ugly plaid-ish cap yelling “Go ___ Go.”
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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.