Jets Post-Game 36: The Shame of It

Kevin McCartney
December 17 2013 09:24PM

Will this be the Jets' Last Supper?

Of course the lowest scoring team since 1967 expansion scored 4 against the Jets to win in regulation for the first time since November 15th. And naturally, the Jets became over-confident while winning 2-0 and down in the shot count 19-10 and in the Fenwick count 26-12. It only makes perfect sense that they lost the faceoff battle (badly) to a team with Cody Hodgson, former winger Tyler Ennis, former winger Steve Ott, former winger Marcus Foligno, and former winger Ville Leino taking draws.

For all three years, the Jets have played down to their opponents, and we can add another tally in a 'bad start' column that's getting awfully full this year. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff avoided direct criticism of his club in the intermission by saying there are parts of their game that they 'scratch their heads' at, but there's no mystery to the fact that Claude Noel gets out coached night in and night out. 

The Jets crew was crowing after Mark Scheifele put the team up 2-0 on back-to-back laser wristers to open the second. We've talked about his shot before, which we'd expected to be at a plus level even in the NHL. We haven't seen it enough, and after being outshot 19-7 in a miserable first period, it felt like redemption and relief all at once. 

But the turnovers just never stopped, and the Sabres got on the board thanks to Setoguchi losing his hubcaps and leaving his muffler on the road on the break out, followed immediately by Pavelec swating a rebound right to Steve Ott. Like, right to him. Couldn't have passed it better.

Eric O'Dell got his first NHL game in this one, but played it from a rag-tag fourth line of fellow call-up John Albert and neutral zone fanatic Eric Tangradi. Unfortunately, O'Dell played a game-low 4:39, and so his game will be remembered for his ill-timed hooking penalty behind his own net. Just moments after Foligno tied it up with an uncontested tap-in to open the third, O'Dell's penalty opened the door to a Matt Moulson tip-in to take the lead. 

In predictable Jets' fashion, the team pouted and failed to make the necessary structural adjustments to take control. Buffalo didn't record a single shot between their third goal and the shift of their fourth goal - an 11 minute, 2 second stretch in which they held the Jets to 4 shots while playing prevent defence. 

When Matt Ellis slapped home a pinball, the shame had long since permeated the Jets' bench.

The Good

Mark Scheifele had two swell goals. His line with Kane and Frolik was the Jets' best for a second night in a row. Those three, plus Wheeler (who played all over the roster), Little, and new guy Eric O'Dell were the only Jets' forwards who were on for more shot attempts for than against. The third line was also the only one to adjust their forecheck in the second period and have support coming back while applying pressure. It was very effective, and Kane threw a number of very effective hits for turnovers. (For some reason, it feels like an eternity since I wrote 'effective' in one of these posts, so I'm doubling up where I can.)

Adam Pardy and Mark Stuart had another strong game as well. The Jets don't match their pairings with their forwards (Noel gets beaten on matchups every game, and it's mostly because he doesn't pay attention to it at all), so it's especially impressive that they didn't ride any coat tails. I was very critical of the Adam Pardy signing (as much too little), but he seems to steady his partner every time he's been in the lineup. 

I thought O'Dell looked sharp and had more range to his game than I expected. I remember saying the exact same thing about him in pre-season, so maybe I have low expectations for this player. It was unfortunate he was in the box for one goal against and on the ice for the Matt Ellis bouncer. I don't that was indicative of his game, and I also think he would have looked better on a less chaotic line, like, say, the second line.

Ondrej Pavelec be Ondrej Pavelec'ing in this game. Nineteen stops in the first, then gives up the 1st goal like he planned it. A few stunning saves, and a few head-shakers. Was it a good game? Well, I don't think so. We await Travis's Pavelec Performance Tracker for confirmation.

Goalie tableau

The Bad

Holy $%&^ am I tired of this 'second line.' Again they were the worst corsi group (37%, or roughly doubled in shot attempts). They mostly played the Leino/Ott/Stafford line and lost massively. That's the struggling third line of the league's worst club. And it wasn't close.

Noel benched Setoguchi for the 7 minutes following his giveaway that created the first goal against. No room for mistakes on this team... assuming you're one of the pre-selected candidates for criticism. Claude Noel is a petty coach, and we know that well as fans. Setoguchi is a long time pro and only had to try to beat a forechecker by going through him because he has a centre who could be anywhere and he doesn't play with a third linemate. The puck got away from him on one play, and so Noel double shifted Wheeler. Meanwhile, Chris Thorburn and Mark Stuart can't control the puck long enough to get credited with a giveaway and they remain.

Jacob Trouba turned in a less than compelling game. A handful of bad turnovers and some positional struggle were the cause of his pairing facing 14 shot attempts against and only 10 for. It came against the Sabres' top line, but that top line is Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, and a 19-year old rookie. The numbers can be excused, but the process to get there wasn't inspiring. 

James Wright didn't play tonight, and the fourth line was a mess in under 6 minutes of ice time. I don't think those are related as it's hard to imagine they missed another stick optional player. That said, Wright has been a better centre than Albert this season. Two rookie call-ups on one line is generally frowned upon in roster building, and we know that John Albert has mostly struggled to control play as a centre at the major leagues. It's not that surprising since he struggles to control play as a centre in the AHL. 

 

The team lost fair and square in this game. They earned it. The Jets reprise their contest against Florida at the end of the week in what was supposed to be a month of confidence building and wins. We wait. 

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Kevin is the Managing Editor of Jets Nation. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, and around the Nations Network. An enthusiastic over-analyst, his background and interests are diverse, but you might notice he's obsessed with hockey. Track him down on twitter @kevinmccart or @nhljetsnation
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#1 ScottOCanada
December 17 2013, 11:01PM
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Well that wasn't just ugly, that was coyote ugly.

Seems to be quite a debate brewing on the call in shows and in social media circles (and in the man cave) regarding whether it's the players or the coach. The answer would be yes to both. And now even Cheveldayoff has found himself dodging bullets fired by rabid fans out for a pound of flesh. And I think that's great. It's when things fall silent that we'll have something to really worry about. When apathy rears it's ugly head. And that's really the next stage isn't it, if there aren't some changes initiated soon.

Nobody I talked to expected the Jets to be playoff bound this season. There were expectations for improvement however. Improve the PP, improve the PK, shore up the back end, score more goals than allowed. Simple stuff. Hardly what we'd call expectations of grandeur. And yes, we're a frustrated lot and we should be. We haven't seen anything remotely resembling stepping stones this year.

This team has enough talent to meet our expectations for improvement. This team doesn't have the guidance to get them there. And there's a preponderance of evidence available to back that up. Same poor PP, same poor PK, same goal differential, same over playing some, same under playing others, same frustrations (you can stop me anytime}. And after spending all this coin, we have every right to those expectations.

So when the coach says it's the players and the players intimate that it's the coach, somebody better step in soon and settle this debate very soon. So Chevy, it would be your move sir to quell this debate, and do it soon. Before that dreaded apathy sets in.

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#2 Travis Hrubeniuk
December 18 2013, 06:54AM
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I haven't had a chance to watch this game yet, and I'm quite nervous for my blood pressure levels when I eventually do.

One minute I look and the Jets are up 2-0, half hour later they are down to the Sabres. How?!?!?

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#3 X
December 18 2013, 10:12AM
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@ScottOCanada

Much to my embarrassment I thought they were a borderline playoff team, but then I assume the the Avs would be scrapping it out at .500 with us, the Stars, and the Preds. I also assumed that Thorburn would never see more than 6 minutes in a hockey game and a possible trip down the waiver-wire and that Halischuk would be a 4th line player that plays on the 4th line. At this point I consider myself suitably chastened for my foolishness.

Having let go of any hope for team success it leaves me free to enjoy individual successes on the ice for the good players that are on the roster. Some stat-padding for the rookies and any UFA that can be sent out as rentals would be nice. (Scheifele is 10 pts behind Hertl, but only 4 back of McKinnon, and there is a lot of season left.)

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#4 X
December 18 2013, 10:16AM
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Travis Hrubeniuk wrote:

I haven't had a chance to watch this game yet, and I'm quite nervous for my blood pressure levels when I eventually do.

One minute I look and the Jets are up 2-0, half hour later they are down to the Sabres. How?!?!?

When you know the result and you watch a game like this you only get the rage and frustration and none of the hope. My sincerest condolences.

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#5 Dan
December 18 2013, 10:42AM
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@X

Too true. Don't do it. That's what highlights are for.

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#6 Okichitaw
December 18 2013, 11:16AM
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Last night's game was a total embarrassment. How do the Jets get spanked like that by the last place NHL team? I had a look at Claude Noel's coaching record. It is mediocre. People are screaming to fire him. The situation is everybody's fault. From what I see the Jets must get more aggressive on defense and hunt that puck down harder, instead of backing off. On the of fence work on chemistry and accurate passing, and please put a man in frontof the net! They have proven they can play 60 minutes of hockey, but consistency is lacking big time. I support our boys to the very end, but they have a lot of work to do.

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#7 Travis Hrubeniuk
December 18 2013, 02:09PM
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X wrote:

When you know the result and you watch a game like this you only get the rage and frustration and none of the hope. My sincerest condolences.

I appreciate it. I'm in for a very rage-filled evening.

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#8 Mac962
December 18 2013, 03:03PM
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JETS FANS - i feel your frustration, i am a die hard Oilers Fan and sick to death of this brutal rebuild. Yes we have talent, too much of the same however, too small etc. What do you see on the JETS team you would be willing to part with to the OILERS, be fair. We both tend to over value our own players. Is Kane available for the right price ? Bogosian ? What have you got that we need and vice versa. Surely to god between these 2 - teams we can make one that actually makes the playoffs or kicks the canucks in the teeth. Flames are no threat, they work hard but have zero talent other than Monahan and a couple others.

40 + game death March is getting very tiresome. We need playoffs.

Both of us.

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#9 X
December 18 2013, 03:30PM
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@Mac962

I would suggest that the Jets are an unlikely trade partner with just about anyone other than contenders looking for rentals until the end of the season and the cap is bumped up, but as you might guess I am not a member of management.

The Jets management maybe guilty of holding on to a coach for a bit too long and some slight overpayments (OK, Pavelec is a ridiculous overpayment but it was also an inopportune time) and not keeping around a few players that were worth having but they are quite far from the sort of active sabotage that Edmonton management is engaged in. Who can believe them clearing cap space, that they didn't need, by trading away Smid for nothing when in 15-16 (the earliest the Oilers might be any good) his cap hit is going to look like mana pouring down from heaven? Now they find themselves trying to get something for Omark, who they never should have risked putting through waivers (got lucky on that one), when all the buyers are asking themselves why they should give up anything when odds favour snagging him on re-entry practically for free! (Andrew Ferrence is also the captain, I mean, I just, I...)

I would love to do a trade with the Oilers because things seem to heavily favour "winning" that trade. It seems so hopeless for Edmonton I can hardly work up any animosity despite desperately wanting to feel something resembling a rivalry. I can offer you my sympathies, perhaps now that the arena is being built Katz Group will decide they are done pumping and it is time for the dumping, a cool 400 million or so - problem is that it is not a very liquid asset.

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#12 Mac962
December 18 2013, 04:05PM
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X wrote:

I would suggest that the Jets are an unlikely trade partner with just about anyone other than contenders looking for rentals until the end of the season and the cap is bumped up, but as you might guess I am not a member of management.

The Jets management maybe guilty of holding on to a coach for a bit too long and some slight overpayments (OK, Pavelec is a ridiculous overpayment but it was also an inopportune time) and not keeping around a few players that were worth having but they are quite far from the sort of active sabotage that Edmonton management is engaged in. Who can believe them clearing cap space, that they didn't need, by trading away Smid for nothing when in 15-16 (the earliest the Oilers might be any good) his cap hit is going to look like mana pouring down from heaven? Now they find themselves trying to get something for Omark, who they never should have risked putting through waivers (got lucky on that one), when all the buyers are asking themselves why they should give up anything when odds favour snagging him on re-entry practically for free! (Andrew Ferrence is also the captain, I mean, I just, I...)

I would love to do a trade with the Oilers because things seem to heavily favour "winning" that trade. It seems so hopeless for Edmonton I can hardly work up any animosity despite desperately wanting to feel something resembling a rivalry. I can offer you my sympathies, perhaps now that the arena is being built Katz Group will decide they are done pumping and it is time for the dumping, a cool 400 million or so - problem is that it is not a very liquid asset.

X - Agree on many of your views. Sabotage is a good way to put it. People here are just aghast nothing is being done. 6 or 7 coaches in as many years has not helped here, especially with Sam Gagner. " Winning" the trade as you state , don't hold your breath though, Mactavish will not dump a core piece yet for something that is not beneficial to both teams. At some point, there will be others in need of what we have, its a give and take and will take time.

As far as Ference, i agree, C'mon Man.. He is a warrior but not the Captain this teams needs. David Perron, without any doubt should be leading this group.

Linus Omark is a non-factor is any sort of move, give away or other. He is a you-tube sensation that any savy NHL player can deal with. Perhaps in the right situation on a big team he could be an asset. Not on the Oilers.

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#13 Mac962
December 18 2013, 04:24PM
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Kevin McCartney wrote:

I want Omark for the Jets, and my brain has been working on an article about it for some time, even while I can't seem to carve out the time to write it. I think he makes a ton of sense for Winnipeg.

On a bigger trade scale, the rumours flew wildly that Bogo was going to Edmonton a couple years back. They still have interest, I'm sure, but the Jets need back a top-4 defender (we don't have many) and an incentive or a reason to make the deal (like a bottom 9 forward fix or a better goalie). It's unlikely any team trades a top-4 dman for a top-4 dman, but the disaster of a season might mean the Oilers are souring on Petry (already traded his former partner) and a deal is possible.

Speaking of a better goalie, I really like Dubnyk (compared to Pavelec). The realism of that trade is 0, obviously, as the Jets management evaluates players mostly by rumour, hearsay, and narrative.

For fun, I wonder if a Petry + LH D (Belov?), Dubnyk, Ryan Jones for Bogosian, Tangradi, Eric Comrie framework might help both clubs.

I think the Jets imagine themselves in a similar time frame as the Oilers. It's dead wrong, but the Jets don't seem to have any urgency about the window of effectiveness for their top guys.

All that together, it's tough to imagine them as trading partners.

Hi Kevin -

First on D.D. - Be careful what you wish for,but then again - DD in a system [ of any kind ] because i am not sold on Dallas Eakins, may be ok. He needs a decent D , which we dont have, and perhaps that would eliminate the soft goal he tends to give up pretty much every game.

Jeff Petry - he is a top 4 D, Just not Top 2 on any team, especially the Oilers or Jets for that Matter. But he can be solid in the right situation.

Omark - Wow - yes he is a sniper, and i was a big fan of his but really watched him closely when he was given the chance, is weak defensively. He is however very determined to show he belongs. With so many changes of late to the head coaching role in Edmonton, it is not only Linus that has been suffering - these first round picks, their mind set is now that perhaps its them and they are not as good as they thought. They are, but need the proper complimentary players with them. What do i know. Give Omark a shot , he does deserve it. Just too many like him on the Oilers. GO OILERS ! GO JETS ! - yes i do cheer for you.

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#15 X
December 18 2013, 08:53PM
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@Kevin McCartney

Dubnyk: Better goalie with more potential, pending UFA - a straight trade for Pavs would be a dream come true (for me, modest dreams I suppose).

Omark: He is basically a proxy for my desire for the Jets to have something of a Cammalleri on the team. I have no idea why I see Cammalleri in Omark, but I do.

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