Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Early break in the schedule timed well for Jets

Coming off easily their worst game of this young season losing Sunday to the Ducks, the Winnipeg Jets have a 4 day break in the schedule which is perfectly timed. Coach Claude Noel can "punish" the team with a bag skate if he chooses, and can use the extended break to teach, which is always vital early in the season. Even though the coaching staff and the majority of the team has been here for a couple of years, there is always an early adjustment period that happens every season. I would be surprised if they didn't come out with a great effort Thursday against Minnesota. 

The time off also allows us a chance to look back at the weekend that was and reflect on what we saw. Friday night's game against the LA Kings was not an insignificant item. The Kings are a HEAVY team and the Jets pushed them around. Western conference teams are going to be surprised in the early going with how abrasive the Jets get in on the fore-check. Evander Kane drove Drew Doughty nuts the first couple of shifts and completed all his checks. If Kane does that every game, he will soon be the leader of this team as far as pace is concerned. His size, speed, and most of all his desire make him a problem for every team in the league. 
I wrote about him last week but it needs to be mentioned again. Michael Frolik is a huge addition for this team. He's locked into the third line at the moment with Olli Jokinen and he has really helped elevate Jokinen to a level we have not seen him display as a Jet. The best thing about a third line like that is it pushes the top two lines. Kane could/should be on the first line. Frolik would not look out of place on the second line. 

So far so good for the kids. Mark Scheifele has been rock solid in the first three games. His speed is not an issue, he is making the small, smart plays. Dangerous in the offensive zone and solid in his own. Jacob Trouba has shown a bit more chaos in his game which is to be expected. Very solid in game one, he was not as impressive in the two home games. There is no shame in that, he's 19... I maintain the best course of action is to have him in the AHL but there is not one pushing him out of the line-up yet either. Ron Hainsey would have been a fantastic cheap signing for the team... 
Ondrej Pavelec was named a star in each home game. His challenge will be to take his game to the next level on the road. There is no doubt in my mind that if healthy he will play 70 games this season. Zach Bogosian has been shaky to start the season. It looks to me like he really misses Mark Stuart. Tobias Enstrom may be the king of the 2nd assist, he now has four points in three games. I really like what I've seen from Eric Tangradi. He was a -2 last game but he has been solid so far to my eye. 

The Temmu send off was a bit understated Sunday night. Of all the games I've been to in Winnipeg, that was the quietest I've heard it. There was two nice moments of tribute to Selanne and both he and the city will always share a bond. If the Jets were going to lose, I would have loved to see him score. The place would have gone bananas. The Jets head to Minnesota on Thursday before starting a six game home stand that is their longest of the season. They need to take advantage of their limited travel to begin the season.


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