With 13 of the next 15 at home, many have been harping on the fact that the Winnipeg Jets season will boil down to how these next bundle of games will play out.
For what it’s worth, those many people are somewhat right.
A rocky start in a 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night didn’t exactly right any wrongs of the Jets, who have been streaking lately, picking up points consistently as November has turned into December.
But many must remember that the Jets play as of late has been night and day from that of the early October and late October, and pretty much all of October.
Evander Kane’s 12 goals leads the team and his play has improved leaving many to believe that he is the star of the team and is on pace to potentially break the 30 goal plateau.
Impressive for a third year player who has never scored 20.
The team concept that head coach Claude Noel has instilled in these players and his systems is reminiscent of his year of coaching the Manitoba Moose last season in Winnipeg.
The Moose of 2010-11 were a a team of grinders and hard nosed guys. Somehow, Noel got a team with only one 20+ goal scorer (Sergei Shirokov) and pluggers to an impressive 43-3-7 mark and an eventual loss in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Semi-Finals.
There’s no worry about the outcome of game’s past because Noel’s system is starting to see the fruit of its ways.
Games, such as Ottawa, are only hiccups on the way to the Jets becoming an above .500 team in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
If anyone doesn’t believe that, look at Noel’s previous coaching record prior to his arrival in Winnipeg.
In five seasons of coaching in the AHL with Manitoba and the Milwaukee Admirals, Noel’s teams have never missed the playoffs – in fact, never won less than 41 games in a season. That also included a Calder Cup championship in 2004.
In eleven seasons of minor-pro coaching in the AHL, IHL, and ECHL, Noel’s teams has only ever missed the playoffs once – in his rookie season coaching in the ECHL.
Ottawa was only a hiccup and sure there will be more.
But hiccups rarely destroy anything.