Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Jets are going to miss the South Least

What a great hockey game last night against the Washington Capitals. Yes, the outcome isn't what Jets fans wanted or had hoped for, but you cannot complain about the entertainment value. While obviously it makes all the sense in the world, its very sad that the Jets are no longer in the south east division and these teams will only play a couple times a year...

The west is big, mean, nasty, and truthfully, somewhat boring hockey. I have watched the western division primarily all of my life, never really paying too close attention to the east. Oh sure, there was the year that I had eight (yes eight) Ottawa Senators in my hockey pool (and yes I did win) but I have always been a west guy. That changed when the Jets became reality and for the first time in my life I was exposed to the entire conference for more than the odd game here and there. The difference in play between the two is so striking. 


As usual, The Jets gave up the first goal last night and as usual, Alex Ovechkin dominated. He has scored more points against the Jets/Atlanta franchise than any other team. Evander Kane once again was the lighting rod for the Jets and his play on a line with Blake Wheeler stood out. That pairing is really working well and should be continued moving forward. The first line contributed most of the offence however as Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little (both names stars) accounted for 3 of the 4 goals. The guy who stole the show last night though was Braden Holtby, even though he wasn't named one of the three stars. He saved 43 shots, and had countless odd man rushes and breakaways against. If it where not for his game, the Jets get two points and end their longest home stand of the season with a win. 

Sadly, those games are going to be rare for the Jets this year. There are some teams in the west who play a more wide open game, Edmonton and Chicago come to mind. Most teams though are button down and play a more grinding game. The Jets now head out on a four game road trip where they play all division rivals and they are all teams that play tight checking, heavy hockey. The Jets are right there as far as the division goes standings wise, but a 3-1 road trip would see them return home in a playoff position. Anything less and they will be chasing the other teams for a while.  

Yesterday Doug MacLean was on the Fan 590 in Calgary and said that teams at the 20 game mark usually know where they are in terms of playoff chances, and what they are (or aren't). Usually only one team falls out of a playoff spot after the 20 game cut-off. The Jets are half way there and really need to string along a few wins in a row, Their division is tough, so is the Pacific. The reason for that is the west has dominated the east so far this year. The Jets had better realize here quickly that they are not in Kansas anymore...time to bring the "A" game on a consistent basis if they seriously want to challenge for a playoff spot. There is no Florida to feast on this year.


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