Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winnipeg Jets Week 4: Winless in Winnipeg

Article written by The Comish - Winnipeg Correspondent
The Winnipeg Jets ended a disastrous three game home stand on Sunday afternoon by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against the Boston Bruins. The Jets scored the go ahead goal with just over 20 seconds left in the second period and should have had all the momentum going into the third until a Johnny Boychuk blast from the point with less than two seconds on the clock found its way past Ondrej Pavelic.

Things went from bad to worse nine seconds into the third period when the Jets got caught flat footed resulting in Ron Hainsey taking a penalty and the Jets surrendering the game winning goal while short-handed. The Jets had their chances to tie the game in the third as Andrew Ladd hit the post and even as time expired, Zac Redmond tipped a shot that miraculously rolled along the goal line and stayed out of the net.

The Jets fell to 5-8-1 on the season and now play the next nine of eleven games on the road but unlike last year this may be a good thing as the Jets last win was in Ottawa, which they followed up with a less than inspired effort against the Philadelphia Flyers who beat them 3-2. The Flyers had played on the road the night before and lost to the Leafs.

It was just after the Flyers game that the Jets pulled the trigger on a deal that saw Eric Tangridi join the club and Alexi Ponikorovsky get shipped back to New Jersey. This resulted in a more inspired effort against the juggernaut Pittsburgh Penguins who came to town on Friday night. Unfortunately, the Jets could not find a way to beat Marc Andre Fluery, which allowed Pittsburgh to escape with a 3-1 victory.

Unfortunately, this team is becoming known for its inability to score goals (this task only got harder with Toby Enstrom going down with an injury) and its uncanny ability to take penalties at inopportune times. The coaches and players have to be held accountable for these traits. It is true that goals do not fall from trees but this squad leads the NHL in missed shots.

I did not think coaches had to teach professionals how to hit the net but the Jets lead the league in missed shots and had almost as many missed shots as actual shots on net against Boston.The players say all the right things about having to play better and getting back to the basics but someone has to step up and lead by example. Andrew Ladd has done that to some extent as he is leading the team with seven goals but he is not being paid to be the team's top goal scorer. Others have to step up and into their role on the team.

The lack of discipline is another area of concern. This falls on the coaches. They are not on the ice taking the penalties but they are creating and implementing the system for the players to follow. Many of the penalties happen because players are not in the right place at the right time. This is evidence of a broken system. The coaches have to instill discipline to follow the system or change it to something the players can follow.

At the four week mark there is much cause for concern about this club as the Jets are not playing like a playoff team but they are playing competitive hockey as in they are not getting blown out most nights. However, the Jets have to find a way to win the one goal games, which are very common in today's competitive (aka watered down) NHL.

This starts with discipline something the Jets are sorely lacking. You can blame it on their youth or coaches or both but no matter who or what you blame all hope should not be lost as this can be fixed. The question is can it be fixed this season. The next 11 games will provide the answer to that question and more about this team that is still in transition and stuck at the gate waiting for clearance to take off.

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