Kukla's Korner

Benny and the Jets

Crosby’s better - so is Malkin, Neal, etc.

Another visit to Pennsylvania, another 60 minutes of hockey spiralling out of control resulting in big numbers on the scoreboard. This time, though, those numbers didn’t work in the Winnipeg Jets’ favour, as they were doubled up 8-4 by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bryan Little scored twice for the Jets, both off nice feeds from Andrew Ladd. Spencer Mahachek played well in just his second game for the Jets, picking up two helpers and finishing the game as one of the few Winnipeg skaters that wasn’t a minus player. Ben Maxwell did well enough after being called up to replace an injured Nik Antropov (who did not make the road trip).

Otherwise, it was a game where the Jets were average at best and dismal at worst – and they strayed towards the latter far more frequently than the former. I get that a team doesn’t want to take a pile of penalties against a power play that features Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, etc. But the Jets played with no physical presence, opting instead on trying to keep up with the Penguins’ ridiculous offense. And, no surprise, they failed.

Where to start? Take your pick: Sidney Crosby had four assists in his return to home ice (remember “Crosby’s better”? That’s karma right there, Jets fans). Evgeni Malkin had two goals, three assists and seven shots on net. James Neal scored a hat trick (and picked up an assist) while getting ten shots through on Ondrej Pavelec and then Chris Mason (who came in with around seven minutes left to play and with the Jets trailing 5-3). Et cetera.

Nobody came close to touching these guys, literally or figuratively. No hits, no hard work along the boards, nothing. It means softies like Kyle Wellwood floated around in relative obscurity, as his reluctance to play the man blended in with most of his teammates’ for once. Seriously, I know he’s scored some decent goals and has a decent number of points for the price, but he’s always got one too many little dekes or moves, never finishes a check and seems to spend many of his shifts floating around in the neutral zone.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to rip into Wellwood there – maybe it was the frustration of sitting through three hours of bad hockey by the team I’ve had to spend so much time watching and, despite the poor play of the team as a whole, he still stood out as one of the worst. Seriously, the Jets had a chance to light up Pens backup Brad Thiessen, who had played all of two games this year and looked far from stellar in the 30 shots he faced.

There were no positives for the Jets to take away from this game – while they finished the first period tied 2-2, it didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off the bus. It’s this kind of game that reinforces the fact that the Jets have no business being in the playoffs - they’re just too regularly terrible on the road. Sportsclubstats now has them with just over a ten per cent chance of making the playoffs. Enjoy the next couple of weeks, Jets fans – I can’t see this team making the postseason.

Filed in: Winnipeg Jets, | Benny and the Jets | Permalink
  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins


Tony's avatar

“Another visit to Philadelphia”....

Come again ??

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 03/21/12 at 11:44 AM ET

BMS's avatar

Good grief… I’m a bonehead. Fixed. Thanks.

Posted by BMS from Winnipeg on 03/21/12 at 11:51 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Really fun game to be at.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 03/22/12 at 08:52 PM ET

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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.

Send him an email at bmswpg@gmail.com and/or follow Ben on Twitter: @bensigurdson