October 25 2011 08:55PM
Dustin Byfuglien was doing things to make fans of the Winnipeg Jets worry before he’d even stepped on to the ice in the team’s new jersey. In August, the defenseman was arrested under suspicion of impaired boating; perhaps worse from a hockey perspective was the fact that his weight was reported at 286lbs – well above his playing weight.
It wouldn’t be a welcome break for any hockey player, but given Byfuglien’s late-season slide it was particularly concerning. In the first 41 games of 2010-11, Byfuglien’s offense was off the charts, as he recorded 15 goals and 25 assists for a total of 40 points, along with a plus-6 rating. Over the final 40 games, he tallied just five goals, eight assists, and 13 points, and went minus-8 to boot.
Now, Byfuglien is minus-6 just eight games into the season. Is he in real trouble?
October 25 2011 05:48PM
Judging by the reaction to Gary Lawless’ column in the Winnipeg Free Press, Jets fans really like defenseman Mark Stuart. He’s something of a throwback defender; he plays a physical game, blocks a lot of shots, and contributes minimally in the offensive zone.
October 25 2011 01:55PM
At the outset of the season, there wasn't a pundit or hockey writer around who suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs or Winnipeg Jets were surefire Eastern Conference playoff favourites. Toronto was lumped in as a bubble team while Winnipeg was sort of on the fence between a bubble team and a lottery team, partly driven on their first-half success of last season.
By the way, the only thing weirder than writing about Winnipeg in an Eastern Conference analysis would be writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Western Conference. Or the Vancouver Canucks in the East. Or the Ottawa Senators in first place.
But who are the other bubble teams in the Eastern Conference who will compete against these teams for the playoffs? We can be sure that Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia are essentially locks, while the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning may be right there. Also on the bubble, I think it's safe to say that Carolina, New Jersey, Montreal, NY Rangers and Florida will be right there by season's end, competing for a pair of playoff spots.
October 24 2011 10:10PM
The Winnipeg Jets coming off an impressive win at home where they finally broke through offensively out-shot, out-chanced and out-everythinged the New York Rangers Monday night but couldn't seem to keep the scoring going. They fell 2-1.
This guy beat the Jets? Really?
-When you outshoot your opponent 28-17, and 24-13 at even strength, usually the only way you lose is if your opponent gets a lucky goal. That's exactly what happened on the Ryan Callahan game winner. Zach Bogosian was a little too casual in protecting against Ruslan Fedotenko in front, and the puck could not have banked in more perfectly off of his skate to put the Rangers up 2-1. To further add insult, that penalty came after a shift that was being dominated by Winnipeg. They had four shot attempts in just under 30 seconds before Fedotenko drew a little space, cut to the net in front of Mason, and got taken down.
October 24 2011 01:15AM
Another week has passed in the season, and with that, it's time for another review of matters around the league. In this installment, the Canucks make the first significant move of the year, two first rounders appear on divergent paths, and the Leafs face life without Optimus Reim.