JGD #24: The Majestic American Buffalo

Kevin McCartney
November 26 2014 08:08AM

The Jets' mid-week, Eastern-conference-also-ran back-to-back concludes today with a contest against a team with an historical misnomer for a city name. You see, the American Bison (Bison Bison) is not a buffalo at all! (Gasps!) The contest is effectively won. I mean, try getting a fighter jet to change its migratory pattern just by building a cross-continental railway. (Rim shot!) 

Ahem. 

The Sabres enter tonight having won three straight to pull into a three-way tie for last with the lowly Oilers and the also lowly Blue Jackets. The team's verbal is, of course, about getting their sea legs. Still, the team sports a league worst -34 goal differential and lost the three games prior to their winning streak by a combined 18-5. Are wins against Toronto, San Jose, and Washington enough to make us believe Ted Nolan has found a combination that works?

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Are the Jets turning their season around?: Pavelec In November

Kevin McCartney
November 04 2014 12:50PM

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The Jets posted back to back shutouts against original six teams with recent playoff success, turning the narrative of their season upside down. With Kane back in the lineup, and each goaltender securing their respective first shutout, it’s hard not to have some excitement that the Jets are out of the basement and trending upward.

The question, then, is whether the Jets are finally pulling it together, buoyed by the structure we were promised by new coach Paul Maurice. What can we expect from the team the rest of the way?

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Jets Start Season in a Hole: When Is the Window to Compete?

Kevin McCartney
October 31 2014 07:00AM

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Entering November, the Jets sit in 25th place with an underwhelming 9 points in 10 games and a 26th ranked goal differential. Of four wins, three have come against teams in the bottom-third of the standings and a playoff appearance is as far away as any October on record.

The question of when the Jets intend to compete seems to linger under this General Manager. We talked about the team's intended window of opportunity at the trade deadline of 2012/13 when the team had a host of pending UFAs to sell and a few holes the GM talked about filling but never did. The mixed signals continued unabated. I suggested two years ago that the team might be lining up to compete for Connor McDavid, but that seemed like a silly notion in September 2014 after the team took some small steps forward each of the last two off-seasons and iced their best top-6 since moving north to start this campaign.

Sadly, with an injury to Kane exposing a lack of depth and the expected failures of Pavelec all but ending the Jets' playoff hopes before November, the question rises again: does GM Kevin Cheveldayoff have a plan for the Jets to be a playoff team? And if so, when?

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JGD #7: The Storm Continues

Kevin McCartney
October 24 2014 04:08PM

#161135718 / gettyimages.com

Out of a Hurricane and into a Lightning storm, the Jets continue a dangerous home stand tonight against a young Tampa team. Collecting two points against the only club left in the league that doesn't have a win has somehow soothed tempers around Winnipeg. 

Facing his former employer, Paul Maurice called it the most 'dialed in' bench he's seen from the Jets this year, and showed his pleasure by leaving out the f-bomb in his post-game presser. But the fact remains that the Jets are behind the Oilers - who made national headlines for sucking - Coyotes, and Panthers at 27th in league standings and haven't beaten a team with a positive goal differential yet. A scoreless powerplay contributes to the Jets' meager 11 goal showing through 6 games (5 goals in the last 5 games) and Ondrej Pavelec is on his usual grind. 

No one is using the 'must win' label for game seven, but six points in seven games looks a lot better than four.

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JGD 4: Openings

Kevin McCartney
October 17 2014 12:46PM

SaberToothed_Tiger

The Jets’ home-opener is also their first game against a Divisional opponent – the oft-forgotten Nashville Predators. The new look Preds have made a splash with points in each of their first three games led by the unexpected scoring of Eric Nystrom (4 points), Paul Gaustad (4 points) and Filip Forsberg (4 points). But it’s the new faces that make the team exciting to watch this season, from Peter Laviolette behind the bench to James Neal, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, Olli Jokinen, and Anton Volchenkov on the ice.

A year ago, two October games against a Rinne-less and floundering Predators squad resulted in just one point for the tarmac cowboys, part of a 9-15-5 season record against Central Division opponents. Dropping games to LA and San Jose is no shame, but does increase the urgency of capturing two points and improving their Divisional standing tonight.

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