Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 11/13/11 at 05:47 PM ET
When the NHL came back to Winnipeg, piles of hockey fans dropped their adopted favourite team and got behind the Jets. I have no problem with that - it’s an exciting thing, after all, to have the NHL back after fifteen years away - but for me there’s not been much to get very excited about when it comes to this Winnipeg Jets team.
Last night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets - the worst team in the league, points-wise - only reaffirmed my intense skepticism about the Jets, as they absolutely stunk up the Nationwide Arena in a 2-1 loss. In fact, the two minutes of overtime in the Montreal-Nashville game that CBC cut to following the Jets’ loss was better hockey than anything I saw from either team in the Jets-Jackets game. (If you didn’t see Pacioretty’s goal, check this out.)
Based on some calls I heard to TSN Radio 1290’s post-game call in show last night, the masses are certainly not happy with the Jets as of late. Most of us didn’t expect this team to contend for a playoff spot this year, but these Jets seem to be getting worse as the season progresses. Jets fans certainly aren’t going to abandon this team en masse anytime soon, but there’s not a lot to be positive about right now.
I guess last night’s game could have been worse - after the Jackets scored within the first minutes I feared either a total blowout or a high-scoring affair similar to the Flyers or Sabres games that bookended the Jets’ road trip. Alas, there wasn’t even the excitement of a pile of goals like either of those games. This was simply boring, bad hockey. [And, on a side note, the CBC play-by-play in this game was beyond flat, boring, and unlistenable.]
Mark Stuart scored the Jets’ only goal, which didn’t quite go far enough in making up for the fact that he was caught staring as both the Jackets’ goals went past Ondrej Pavelec. Dustin Byfuglien had a couple of good shifts, but took two penalties to ensure his grip on the team lead in penalty minutes wouldn’t be jeopardized. Kyle Wellwood had a couple good shifts, as did guys like Evander Kane and Tanner Glass, but otherwise there weren’t many bright spots in the Jets’ play. The power play looked awful (against the worst penalty killing unit in the league), and many of the chances the Jets’ defensemen took in pinching to get into the play ended up in odd-man rushes coming back up the ice for the Jackets.
Derek Meech had surgery over the weekend and will be gone for a number of weeks, Paul Postma has been sent back to St. John’s; in his place Arturs Kulda will get a shot with the parent club, as will former Manitoba Moose forward Jason Jaffray. The St. John’s IceCaps have been tearing it up in the AHL, with an eight point lead in the AHL’s Atlantic Division - here’s hoping Jaffray can provide a spark for the Jets’ offense. He netted a hat trick yesterday against the Connecticut Whale in an 8-4 win. At this point the Jets will take what they can get.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are in town tomorrow night, and then Tuesday night is the team’s inaugural skills competition. Go ahead and write your own jokes in relation to the latter event.
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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.