Jets Forward Usage: Year in Review

Kevin McCartney
April 21 2014 01:00PM

Jets home bench_Noel and Pearn

As we move into the off-season, questions about personnel abound. Who should come back? Who should be traded? 

These basic questions hinge on who is driving the play of the Jets, and it may not be who we expect. Inside we'll look at how the coaches used the Jets' forwards and how they managed under the circumstances.

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Pessimist Corner: The Paul Maurice Extension

Kevin McCartney
April 19 2014 07:23PM

Young Maurice

News came down a couple days ago that formerly interim Head Coach Paul Maurice had been extended four years. He took over a team with a 19-23-5 record, so perhaps appropriately escaped blame for a last place finish in the Central Division and fewer wins than the much maligned Maple Leafs. 

It was a heck of a start for Paul Maurice, in fact. Not only did the team immediately look more competitive on the ice, hope for less of the same spread through the fan base. A 9-3-1 record before the Olympic break was complimented by a lifted suspension for Ivan Telegin and rumblings that Burmistrov may not be a lost asset after all. The players seemed happier and his even his verbal was good - identifying the Jets as a young, fast, big team capable of winning in the Western Conference.

Then it all fell apart. A 9-9-4 record after the break was punctuated by tension with Evander Kane, questionable lineup choices, and some of the hands-in-the-air frustration we saw under Claude Noel. 

The pressing question is why it fell apart, and with that, whether Paul Maurice is an upgrade behind the bench. What can we expect from the Jets' second ever tactics magnate?

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JGD 82: Last Hurrah

Kevin McCartney
April 11 2014 04:16PM

It's been a frustrating season for Jets fans. A confounded coach and the league's worst starting netminder are all that stood in the way of hosting playoff hockey at the MTS Centre. Again. The lines were maddening, the AHL call-ups confusing, and the injuries seemingly ill-timed. And James Wright never did get that first goal of the year. Aww shucks.

But it's always hard to say goodbye to another season of Jets hockey. Just five months until training camp.

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Hockey's Forward Linkages: The predicted failure of the Leafs in perspective

Kevin McCartney
April 09 2014 03:35PM

WPG at PHX

Photo by Shahid Bhinder

The hockey world is in spasm at the moment. It is moving in many directions at once, with those invested in any given direction actively claiming theirs should be called ‘forward.’ It can feel at times as though movements are connected - that the future of violence in hockey, for instance, rests within the larger presumed paradigm shift from positional, body-focused hockey to possession-based, puck-focused hockey. More often than not, however, those connections are more personal than real, hanging together by the nature of having electrified meat to do our thinking.

In fact, insofar as a paradigm shift is underway at all (we’ll unpack that later), it’s neither clear which analytics will change how the game is played, nor what will happen to the honoured method of personal accounts to evaluate players. More prominently, we can’t know what hockey will look like for our children or grandchildren. It’s not the coordinated movement of a dance troupe of Excel users. It’s a spasm.  

In these moments, it’s important to study the process of change: how we get from here to there.

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JGD 76: The Tour of Respect

Kevin McCartney
March 31 2014 03:57PM

Donald Duck flies a plane

Jets fans had their chance to say good bye to Teemu at the MTS Centre back on October 6th. But this will be his last game against the Jets. His 76 goals with that white Titan won't be forgotten for fans of a certain generation, and it seems Winnipeg left an impression on him as well. It's your last chance to see the Finnish sniper ply his trade against the Jets and reminisce about when he came over the Atlantic as a teenager.

But this game isn't just about Teemu. 

The Jets have had a wild season. They've had deep lows, like the 9 losses in October with Scheifele falling all over the ice, or the 7 games Pavelec lost in December on the back of a stunningly bad .863 save percentage. But there have been times when the team looked next to unstoppable instead, even beating Anaheim and Chicago five days apart during the Paul Maurice honey moon where the team went 9-3-1 heading into the Olympic break. 

Now 9 points back of Phoenix for the Wildcard playoff spot with just 7 games remaining, the Jets are playing out the string. A swing through California means playing the top three teams of the Pacific Division. They enter tonight's game with the chance to win some respect as a team with upward momentum.

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