Benny and the Jets
Entries with the tag: montreal canadiens
Finally, officially, it’s over. The Winnipeg Jets’ playoff chances were slimmer than slim going into last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but an overtime loss courtesy of Steven Stamkos’ 56th goal of the year dashed what little hope was left of making the postseason. Infamously weak in the second of back-to-back games and notably bad on the road, the Jets were lucky to keep things close against the Bolts in Tampa following the previous night’s win in Carolina.
A Jets win last night wouldn’t have been enough anyhow – Montreal needed to beat the Washington Capitals for the Jets’ meager chances of the playoffs alive, and they failed to do so in a shootout loss. With just three games left and only four points up on the Toronto Maple Leafs (14th in the Eastern Conference), it’s plausible that the Jets could lose all three games and pick in the top five at this year’s draft. Which, at this point, is what Jets fans should be hoping for.
Call it Stupor Bowl Sunday, Super Bore Sunday or whatever else you want, Sunday’s Winnipeg Jets-Montreal Canadiens afternoon game at the Bell Centre saw one team play sloppy hockey and the visitors play even worse. Coming off a 3-0 loss yesterday afternoon – also at the Bell Centre – the Montreal Canadiens turned around and shout out the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. The Habs scored once on the power play, once shorthanded and once at even strength.
The Jets came out and played a hard opening half of the first period, but quickly had their energy slip away as the game wore on. A late first-period goal by Max Pacioretty sent the Jets back to the dressing room down a goal, and they weren’t ever able to right the ship, so to speak.
The Winnipeg Jets leave Florida with two of a possible four points – not the ideal situation, especially considering the two points they picked up were in a 2-1 overtime win against Southeast Division rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rather than significantly close the gap on the Florida Panthers (to whom they lost 2-1 in regulation on Friday night) and Washington Capitals – both in their division and both ahead of the Jets – Winnipeg only managed to cobble together enough to keep things close in the race for the final couple of playoff spots.
It’s tough to gain any momentum when your team can’t put the puck in the net, something the Jets have been struggling with as of late. Snipe Evander Kane continues to sit out with a concussion, although he had been ice cold in his last ten or so games in action. The team only has six goals in the last five games, a number that won’t win you many games (although, miraculously, the team won two of those five).
I tried. I tried my best to keep my attention on the Winnipeg Jets/San Jose Sharks game last night. As per usual, I was taking notes on my laptop, and as per usual I had Twitter open on my laptop as well. Suddenly I see that Mike Cammalleri has been pulled from the Montreal Canadiens/Boston Bruins game; it occurs to me that the Habs/Bruins tilt is on TSN, so I flipped over to see what was going on. Then it was reported that Cammalleri had been sent to a Boston hotel in a taxi, then that he had been traded, and then the confirmation came that my favourite Hab was headed to the Calgary Flames.
I’ve mentioned before that when the Jets v1.0 left I became a full-time fan of the Montreal Canadiens. These days I’m as far from that as I’ve ever been; watching that team self-destruct this season has had me shaking my head and cringing repeatedly. I wonder whether I was in some period of self-loathing in the mid-90s when I turned to the Habs, or whether I was stupid, naïve, or just caught up in the fact that they were the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup. Regardless, I’m regretting having made that decision now. (To be honest, a part of me was sort of hoping Cammalleri was headed to Winnipeg, although I’m well aware the Jets could use size rather than speed.)
After two consecutive drubbings - a 7-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens followed by a 4-0 defeat to the Toronto Maple Leafs - the Winnipeg Jets head south of the border tonight to face the Buffalo Sabres, an equally middling team only three points behind the Jets in the standings. The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last ten, and are coming off a 4-2 loss last night to the Carolina Hurricanes. As Lloyd says in Dumb and Dumber: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”
There’ll be some changes to the Jets lineup - centre Bryan Little draws back in after missing eight games with bruised foor, while Alexander Burmistrov will miss tonight’s tilt with a “mid-level” injury, which perhaps explains his less-than-torrid play as of late.
Every year my parents have a little dinner party type thing at their place on New Year’s Eve. It’s usually my brother and I, and a handful of their good friends - we stand around, have some drinks, then sit down to a massive dinner. This year was no exception, although there was one notable difference between this year and previous incarnations - instead of the Canada/USA world junior match-up on TV in the background, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets that provided the on-ice action for us hockey nuts to scrutinize.
When your two favourite teams are playing, who do you cheer for? I’ll have a chance to watch the Jets in person many more times over the years, but when the team moves to its new division/conference/whatever, we won’t be seeing any more of the Montreal Canadiens at the MTS Centre than we have this year. So, in theory, I should have been rooting for the lowly Habs in what will be their last visit here this season.
I just couldn’t do it. Maybe seeing the Habs in the state they’re in right now was a good thing - it became clearer than ever to me that this team has serious problems. While they managed a fair number of shots on Ondrej Pavelec, the ‘tender was equal to the task in the 4-0 Jets victory over the Habs. To his credit, Pavelec was pretty sharp, but the Habs just didn’t generate enough quality scoring chances. They looked completely lost.
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.
No, the Jets aren’t playing, but the anticipation surrounding tonight’s NHL regular season kickoff couldn’t be more intense in Winnipeg. With the NHL deciding to host the 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-off festival at The Forks - located in the heart of downtown Winnipeg - the eyes of the hockey-loving world will turn in our direction for the first of two times this weekend.
It all becomes real tomorrow - for the first time, the Winnipeg Jets will take to the ice. While it’s not the full roster, it ain’t just the rookies and prospects and it ain’t in Penticton. And while there’s incredible excitement about the Jets’ home opener at the MTS Centre tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, it will actually be in Columbus’ Nationwide Arena that the team (at least part of it) will first hit the ice, a full 90 minutes earlier than when the puck drops in Winnipeg. Half of the Jets’ roster is in Ohio to take on half of the Blue Jackets in a 6:00 PM game that will surely have far less fanfare than the 7:30 affair in Winnipeg.