October 04 2011 12:43PM
The regular season looms so here begins Part 2 of my SWOT analysis of the Jets players coming into 2011-12, with the focus on the forwards this time. Hopefully my analysis is not overly self-contradictory but there is a fine balance to be observed in dealing with the uncertainties of the mena and events that transpire in professional sports.
1. Trending Up:
In looking at four top forwards, we can see that all are on the upswing or rebound in their careers in terms of point totals as they have gained more ice time over the past 3 years. This bodes well for an increased scoring capability for this season, as does their below-average team shooting percentage of only 8.4% in 2010-11 which is unlikely to stay so low given historical trends. For these top scorers, consider the following upswinging Point totals with Games Played and average Time On Ice (in minutes) over the last 3 years showing (oldest year first):
a. Andrew Ladd - 49 Pts in 82 GP (with Chicago) with TOI of 12.88 mins, 38 in 82 with 12.80 TOI (with less ice-time on Stanley Cup winning Hawks), 59 in 81 with 14.40 TOI (Atlanta)
b. Bryan Little - 51 in 79 with 12.18 TOI, 24 in 79 with 12.38 TOI, and 48 in 76 with 13.56 TOI
1. Getting to Know You:
With all the time to be spent travelling as the Jets play divisional away games in the Southeast division this season, it will not hurt team chemistry to have time to get to know your teammates and thereby understand what motivates them. For forward lines who need to learn the patterns of their linemates, off-ice time allows them to discuss what they like to do in certain situations, chat about tendencies of players on opposing teams they are about to play, and just learn how the guys beside them like to operate on the ice. While it is impossible to measure these kinds of factors, we see that teams with time off will often have team get-togethers outside their home cities to foster just this type of team-building spirit, so some validity must be there we assume (or at least the team psychologist says so!)
2. Building for The Future:
This franchise is about as loved as one can get right now as long-suffering Jets fans compare themselves to wrongly-imprisoned men who spent too long in captivity unjustly. Apparently their popularity is nearly approaching Edmonton-Oilers-Winning-All-
1. Fatigue Factor:
As discussed above, while having a young team, the well-travelled Jets may need to rotate in forward numbers 13 and 14 just to keep the team from falling asleep at the bench. Fatigue can lead to more injury-prone players so the Jets medical leader may need to do hire a bigger staff than they had in Atlanta to combat the soreness and low energy the players may get. Players missing games due to injury means lost momentum and chemistry with teammates and probably a few less goals.
2. Party Factor:
Given defenseman Byfuglien's antics in the Minnesota waters, perhaps the youthful enthusiam to hit the night clubs after the games will be too tempting for some of the young forwards, especially if a bad influense is in effect. And hey, I have partied in Florida, it's truly awesome what you can see and do as outlined by the beloved Will Smith in his 1998 single "Miami" - his #1 single of all time. So perhaps the players will want to be like the Fresh Prince and flash their "Big Willie Style" which may be followed the next evening by a little less focus on the puck and too much on the hangover and gloating over other types of "scoring".