December 22 2013 03:54PM
The Vancouver Province newspaper is trolling Jets fans on twitter today in a manner that fits the Canucks' personality so perfectly. I'm sure if you mention politely that it's probably a bit below them, they'll take a dive and file for libel, so watch yourselves Jets fans.
In all seriousness, the Canucks have corrected a number of their early season struggles, and Tortorella has ended a lot of the 'game within the game' buffoonery the Canucks were once known for around the league. In the case of Kesler, Torts has convinced him to play hockey again and the result is that he's back on track to be a 35 goal scorer. Now the two teams have a great deal in common, including a massive drop-off in talent from the top half of their respective rosters to the bottom half, such that structure and goaltending are the primary differences.
December 20 2013 10:33PM
The very first shift ended fears that the Jets were going to roll over in this game. Evander Kane threw a punishing hit, and the Jets new look second line picked up where they left off - with offensive pressure and slick scoring chances. Kane aggrivated the Panthers, the powerplay scored two, and the Jets never backed down in a high-emotion affair. Somehow confidence abounded on the struggling club as 10 different Jets recorded points in team's first home win in regulation since November 8th.
December 20 2013 12:45PM
Photo by Dan Bodenstein
It's game two against Florida this month. The first, a 5-2 loss in Sunrise, left fans reeling with a potent cocktail of frustration, anger, and shame. In fact, a December schedule seemingly designed to get the Jets back on track has yielded just three wins and 5 losses thanks to unexpected losses to the Panthers and Sabres. A game under .500, the Jets sit above only Calgary and Edmonton in the Western Conference standings and fans are starting to look to the future of this club.
Even if Jets fans aren't delusional about the quality of this club, another loss to the lowly Panthers would surely cut deep.
December 19 2013 08:54PM
Just as Ryan Blight's scathing piece about Kevin Cheveldayoff's lack of changes to the Atlanta Thrashers came to define how we thought about the Jets in the summer, Tim Bonner's recent piece regarding the massive gap in talent between the team's top group and depth players is coming to define how we talk about the next stages of this team.
The conclusion of Bonner's work is the culmination of conversations he, we, and every Jets fan has had over the last 10 weeks. This team has problems, but the problems are contained to specific areas, namely the bottom-6 forwards, and bottom 2 or 3 defencemen.
One challenge this team faces is that it has to fix a number of concurrent deficits in order to even diagnose whether it has larger issues with core players like Evander Kane, Ondrej Pavelec, or Dustin Byfuglien.
A contention I stand by at this stage in the season is that the first change has to be Claude Noel. Inside, we'll see just how his lack of line matching and line awareness have impacted the performance of the forwards, with some extra sensitivity to Bonner's point about the deep divide between capable and incapable players on this roster.
December 19 2013 11:12AM
Despite the overall result of the game, the Jets actually played a decent game in the neutral zone. Well, not really. But when you compare it how they have performed normally, it wasn’t too bad. I’m trying to keep upbeat a little bit here everyone. Give me a break.