Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Five straight losses have significantly loosened their grip on a playoff spot, and has the Jets looking over their shoulders again, not at the teams above them.
What should have people reaching for the panic button, though, isn’t a simple losing streak. It’s how this team has suddenly begun to act like the old Jets.
You know, the immature, defensively inept bunch we got tired of watching the first three years. The one that cost Coach Claude his job just over a year ago.
Topping the list of concerns today is the return of Evander Kane to the coach’s doghouse, no minor detail given the circumstances in Vancouver, Tuesday night.
Kane was all set to play before his family and friends in his old hometown, only to see Paul Maurice banish him to the press box, presumably for breaking a team rule.
I say presumably because Kane had been one of the Jets better forwards of late. And if he’d been hurt, the Jets would have said so.
added 3:17pm, from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.
via Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press,
"Coaches decision not to be in the lineup tonight," Maurice said after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Canucks at Rogers Arena pushed Winnipeg’s losing streak to a season-high five games but at least salvaged the Jets a much needed point.
Asked if he cared to expand on his answer, Maurice bristled. "What do you think the chances of you getting more are? We work together."
Asked if it was any more difficult to sit down one of his most productive players in recent weeks given Winnipeg’s current losing streak, Maurice replied: "I’ve just been doing this long enough that most of these aren’t that difficult to do."
Asked if he expected Kane to be in the lineup for Winnipeg’s next game — Friday night at MTS Centre against the Chicago Blackhawks — Maurice was flippant, suggesting that answer will have to wait for later in the week.
"Flight tomorrow fellas. Are you coming back to Winnipeg?...We’ll probably talk again. OK," said Maurice. "You guys get down to the MTS Centre tomorrow between 1:30 and 7 and I will catch up with you there."
That last comment was apparently meant to be a joke. The Jets have no practice or availability scheduled for Wednesday.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The Winnipeg Jets emerged as one of the Cinderella teams of the first half, elbowing their way into the mix in a stacked Central Division, but Paul Maurice's squad has faltered since the All-Star break. With a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night, the Jets dropped their fourth straight.
Perhaps the most concerning factor is that they've surrendered 20 goals during that span. One of the most promising rookies this season, goaltender Michael Hutchinson, seems to be coming back to earth a bit. He was yanked after coughing up four goals on 23 shots. It's gut-check time for Winnipeg. Are the Jets for real, or were they just a tease?
continue for more topics from the ESPN hockey writers...
from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,
This team needs a move from the general manager. A trade to let the players know he’s serious about icing the best lineup every night — a move to equalize the depth on the team, subtracting a defenceman and adding a forward who can chip in with a few goals.
It would not be a terrible idea to move one of the top-six blue-liners for a top-six forward and plug one of the spare parts into the lineup on the back end.
Even if he’s not willing to move one of his nine defencemen, Kevin Cheveldayoff needs to find a way to add a missing piece for this team, even just to show his team and the fans of the Winnipeg Jets that he believes in their ability to make a playoff run and is willing to enhance the roster.
There are forwards available, for the price of draft picks or prospects. The Jets have plenty of both.
Right now, the only way the Jets have any depth at the forward position is if they are willing to move Dustin Byfuglien back to the wing from the blue-line, where he has been shining for the better part of two months, if someone gets injured.
It’s not the worst idea in the world. Unless your name is Dustin Byfuglien.
Voracek received two minutes for an illegal check to the head.
from Tavis Yost of TSN,
One of the big reasons why the Western Conference playoff race is so captivating this year is tied into the emergence of the Winnipeg Jets as a legitimate contender. Combine that with Nashville’s explosion in the standings, and you’re looking at a quarter of the playoff berths in the West potentially going to teams who many had on the outside looking in last October.
Make no mistake, a big reason why Winnipeg has looked better in the standings this year of is tied into improvement in the goaltending department. Michael Hutchinson has been a blessing for Paul Maurice’s team, and even Ondrej Pavelec has turned things around a bit this season. Relatively speaking, it’s the best goaltending the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise has seen.
The goaltending has carried things along, but it’s important to note that Winnipeg’s also playing significantly better from a possession standpoint this season, too. At Arctic Ice Hockey, Garret Hohl did an excellent job explaining the team’s spike in Score-Adjusted Corsi% this season (53.3% year-to-date, good for 9th in the NHL), and how three of Winnipeg’s four lines are generally out-playing the opposition.
This, of course, brings us to the most important question of all. We know the team can skate with most opponents. We know the goaltending’s improved – although there’s a degree of uncertainty as to whether or not the Hutchinson/Pavelec duo can hold on. If you are Kevin Cheveldayoff and are looking to improve this club at the trade deadline, how do you do it?
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
The addition of Trouba, probably the team’s best player on the blue line before Dustin Byfuglien reclaimed his kingdom, complicates matters further, and will no doubt have someone like Jay Harrison looking over his shoulder.
Enter GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, given a prime opportunity to improve his team where it needs it most: up front.
This won’t be easy. But as they say, no pain, no gain.
Cheveldayoff could just put Pardy, Postma and Harrison on the market and see what offers he gets.
The return would be minimal, though — likely a late-round draft pick.
Sending them down to the minors risks losing them for nothing in a waiver claim.
Some of the Jets’ more valuable pieces — Stuart, Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom, even Byfuglien — will have to be in play.
Sacrilege, you say?
Just good business.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
... fallout from Friday's game includes the loss of red-hot Jets forward Mathieu Perreault to an apparent arm injury after taking a vicious slash from Blackhawks winger Daniel Carcillo late in the second period.
Carcillo received a slashing minor, but the Jets didn't even get a power play, since Mark Scheifele was called for slashing.
“It was a vicious cross-check to an unsuspecting player,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice, who said Perreault would be further evaluated on Saturday. “This was as big a character win as we've had since I've been here.”
more on Winnipeg's 4-2 win over Chicago...
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Perreault's four-goal game was the first in Jets 2.0 history and just the third in franchise history, with Ilya Kovalchuk providing the last one as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers, on Nov. 11 of 2005 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Perreault opened the scoring at 7:24, then extended the lead four minutes later with a power-play goal that came on a quick wrister.
Perreault's third goal of the game required a lengthy look from the off-ice officials, who determined the Jets' versatile forward had indeed deflected home a point shot by Toby Enstrom at 15:23 of the second period.
Once the goal was finally announced during a stoppage in play, the ice was littered with hats as Perreault became just the second player in Jets 2.0 history to score three times in a game.
In case you've forgotten, Bryan Little, on Dec. 5 against the Colorado Avalanche, is the other.
But Perreault wasn't done there, jamming in a rebound after Michael Frolik was stopped on a breakaway at 16:32 of the second period.
Perreault nearly scored a fifth during the third period and the crowd showed their appreciation on several occasions.
“That was awesome. I got chills,” said Perreault. “I almost couldn't believe it.”
Watch the goals below..
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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