Friday Five-Hole: Dreams

Rhys Finnick
December 06 2013 10:12AM

Jets fans eagerly waiting in line to see their favorite team lose.

This weekly column looks to discuss a certain number of relevant Jets topics on a certain day of the week. That certain number? Five. That day of the week?Friday. Also, hole. This is the Friday Five-Hole.

THORBURN'D!

Jets/Thrashers veteran Chris Thorburn showed much aplomb against the New York Rangers Monday night, pitching in two asissts in a 5-2 Jets victory. Coach Claude Noel bumped regular fourth-liner Thorburn up to the second line in place of Evander Kane, who went down with a (still) unspecified lower-body injury last Friday against the Flyers. Thorburn and his new linemates Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi combined for a whopping 7 points against the Rangers.

Winnipeg media and fans alike have slowly cooled on Kane this season. If Jets fans, newspapers, and blogs were the water in a Kane bath, it would've been hot (and slightly racist) two seasons ago, but lukewarm now. And that specific kind of lukewarm where it's warm if you stay still, but cold for a few seconds if you move. The worst. Kane is both expected and capable of more than his current 14 points in 26 games.

While Kane's bathwater cooled, message boards and comment sections across Jets-related internet were heating up Thorburn's. Some went so far as to call Thorburn a suitable replacement for Kane, and even more evidence that Kane has become expendable. Thorburn's impressive 2 assists against the Rangers equaled Kane's point total over his previous 7 games.

Thorburn may very well wrest Kane's spot away on the second-line. The pugilist-turned-point-producer has been on fire the past two seasons, scoring 6 points in 62 games. If everything keeps going as well as it has been for Thorburn, he's on pace to finish the year with an imposing 7 points.

While that may not be as many as Kane's projected 42 points, at least Thorburn's points won't go to Vegas with a stack of cash.

PRACTICE PUNCHES

A scuffle between teammates Mark Stuart and Anthony Peluso broke out Wednesday during a morning practice in Florida. A war of words eventually led to the two Jets dropping their gloves and shoving each other before coach Noel stopped the altercation from escalating.

Stuart and Peluso were apparently quick to make up afterwards - and Noel was pleased to see that level of intensity in practice. Noel even stopped a practice last week, urging his team to show more passion and effort. Winnipeg's bench boss watched his team go 3-4-2 over the past three weeks, and the frustration is spilling over for Noel and his players.

Tune in next week when an argument leads to Byfuglien sitting on Enstrom while Noel rubs his hands together menacingly, adding up the wins in his head.

DREAMS

A dream came true Thursday night for one lucky Winnipeg Jets fan.

What's your dream?

SO, THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS

The Jets have the worst powerplay in the league. By a lot.

Over the past six games, Winnipeg's powerplay has gone 0-15, an unrecognizable statistic after the Jets scored PP goals in each of their first five games. The Jets certainly have the talent to ice a top-end first unit powerplay. It's almost inconceivable that a group consisting of players like Byfuglien, Enstrom, Ladd, and Little can only score on one out of ten attempts.

What's going on?

By eye, the Jets began the season trying to maintain puck possession as they entered the offensive zone with the man advantage. As the powerplay (and luck) dried up, the Jets switched to a dump-and-chase strategy - and they're getting eaten alive. In a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia last week, the Jets had six powerplay attempts and barely entered the Flyers' zone until the third period. Winnipeg's wingers aren't getting into the corners fast enough and opposing defencemen routinely have enough time to retrieve and clear the puck down the ice.

It's unlikely that the switch from possession to dump-and-chase is completely to blame for the Jets' powerplaywoes, but it's certainly a contributing factor.

FIVE-HOLE OF THE WEEK

Setoguchi scores the first of five Jets goals against the Rangers earlier this week. Jokinen and Setoguchi make a couple of quick'n'nifty passes before Sweetoguchi (to steal the nickname from fellow Jets Nationer Ross Smith) and his quick release beat Cam Talbot through the legs.

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Rhys is an aspiring stand-up comedian and put up 29 points in 18 beer league games last year. He enjoys hockey, twitter (@Rhysus_Christ), and pretending like someone else wrote his bio for me.
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#1 AussieOil
December 06 2013, 05:44PM
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I think the Jets should trade Kane immediately - Straight up Kane for Gagner. Lets get the paper work sorted

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#2 Ross Smith
December 07 2013, 09:39AM
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Sweetoguchi!! I'm going to make that stick. I want Noel's "intensity" strategy to go even a step further than what you've suggested, Rhys - I want back-alley Jets fight club. So then, each day when players arrive battered and bruised and the media asks Noel why, he'll just say, "Can't talk about it." But we'll all know. And the PP will flourish like Brad Pitt's career…

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#3 Kevin McCartney
December 07 2013, 01:03PM
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Who would trash the idea of a Jets fight club?! At least there would be a use for the Jets' depth players!

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#4 MC Hockey
December 08 2013, 08:43PM
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Nice article! As a Winnipeg-born guy who has been in Cowtown a long time and has season tix, I would love to see Evander land in Calgary with a return being Backlund. Flames get skilled speedster and Jets get skilled under appreciated two-way centre/winger who could fit right in with Ollie and Setoguchi to make a scoring line.

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