October 18 2013 02:51PM
The St Louis Blues are in town, and the anxiety about meeting a Central Division opponent couldn't be higher. Ryan Blight over at Arctic Ice is (very reasonably) calling for major changes to a franchise that has been re-building since expansion. Two lucky wins to kick off the year aren't fooling anyone, and Claude Noel's seat is being heated by the torches of Winnipeg's expanding mob. It's not like ex-Atlanta coach Bob Hartley could have gotten more wins out of this club. I mean, look at Calgary! Wait, Calgary is doing better than us? Oh, the shame.
October 18 2013 04:22AM
This is a systems post we've been working up to from the start of the season. The Jets have a complex problem this season, and the knives are out. As we look at the Jets forecheck, we're going to see the root of a lot of the things people don't like about this squad. Lack of control of the neutral zone, open space in the Jets' end, odd-man rushes against, and even offence coming from areas outside that prized real estate in the slot.
The point of these posts is not to show fault with a particular system choice. It's hard to talk about systems in Winnipeg right now without incidentally raising the question of whether Noel should be fired. I wanted to wait for this post until we'd seen a game in which this forecheck was successful, becuase when it is successful, it creates a lot of second and third opportunities and forces defencemen to make difficult plays. We finally saw that against New Jersey.
Still, the Jets use a forecheck that is unqiue in their high-powered division, and as with all systems choices, it has both positive and negative conseqences. We'll look first at what the Jets are doing, and then compare them to the reigning Cup Champions and new Division rival Chicago Blackhawks.
October 18 2013 02:54AM
"Goodbye, my friend. Will I ever love again?" - Kanye West, Coldest Winter
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.
October 17 2013 03:11PM
Just two weeks into the season, the team and fans alike are trying to understand the complex and compounding problems of the Jets. Among them, the role of Claude Noel has taken centre stage, as struggling veterans, slow starts, and questionable on-ice organization plague the 3-4-0 club.
We only have a few ways to evaluate coaching as fans. Our Systems Analysis work will continue, and we have aggregated team stats. Neither have been friendly to Noel. The Jets once again sit in the bottom third of the league for powerplay effectiveness, and just 17th shorthanded. They rank a meager 18th in 5 on 5 goal differential, and have a very low winning percentage when outshooting their opponents - which speaks to the garbage-time rope-a-dope played by Dallas and Montreal.
Another tool we have is how the lineup is used. Noel has often been criticized in his tenure in Winnipeg for putting players in positions to fail, and not adjusting to clear-cut problem matchups. Has the move West cured him of his stubborn streak?
October 17 2013 03:52AM
Ondrej Pavelec can be a challenging member of the Jets to understand. Given a large contract after a career year of a meager .914 save percentage, his best season in the Polar Night blues was a very poor .906. Still, the team's faith in him seems unwaivering, and this pre-season was the first time mainstream media seemed concerned with the trajectory of his career. We hear about his clutch saves, his diving athleticism, and heroic acrobatics, and it can be a challenge to match that to the numbers and the overall success he has on the ice.
So we went to an expert. We caught up with Justin Goldman, founder of The Goalie Guild, writer at NHL.com, and Regional Goalie Scout for USA Hockey and Goalie Mentor for the NTDP. He gave us some really interesting insight, and honestly taught me a lot about goaltending in the process. Enjoy!