Jets Post Game 4: Unwatchable

How about those first periods, Jets fans? I can’t hear you – groan louder! 

After everyone and their dog made the point of needing to start better, to the point of having Claude Noel himself talk about practicing for better starts, the Jets’ opening 20 minutes against Minnesota saw them get outshot 10-6, 9-3 at even strength. The Jets’ best period – the second – is also the Wild’s! The Wild outshot the Jets 12-4 in that 20 minute block to go 54-19 on the season in 2nd periods. At evens it was 11-2. Surely the third was better! Nope. Final shots were 30 to 15. A corsi lover? Try a shameful 62-41.

There was a lot of discussion on twitter about Claude Noel and his future behind the bench. What is wrong with the Jets will be the question of the weekend, almost irrespective of the result in Dallas tomorrow night.  

The final score of 2-1 reflected the special teams battle. Just 40 minutes of the game was played 5 on 5. When we start with asking what’s wrong the Jets, we have to start at even strength. Doubled in total shots, the Jets were tripled at even strength (24-8). Our own Travis Hrubeniuk gave us this nugget:

We’ll get more in-depth in the coming week here on Jets Nation, but the primary problem is puck support. And the secondary problem is the forecheck. And the tertiary problem is how the defensive zone is that the Jets defend like it’s pee-wee. But I digress.

Special teams were only marginally better for the Jets against a Wild team without much more to brag about when there’s a man in the box. The Jets got a 1st period goal on a 5-on-3 off of Bryan Little’s not-so-little tuchus. When Pominville whiffed on a goal-mouth tap-in in the first, the Wild missed out on their best powerplay scoring chance of the game, going 0-6 with just three shots on with the man advantage. 

The Good

Frolik, Enstrom, and Tangradi were the only Jets players with a positive number in the shot attempt +/- column. Enstrom also added a primary assist on the PP and was generally effective to my eye. 

The LLW line was the best Jets line, which is a positive. They were only slightly in the negative for shot attempt +/-, and managed a powerplay goal. Ladd looked like the league’s best third liner tonight, which is a step up from games 1 through 3, but not nearly good enough.

Tangradi continues to impress. He’s slow, he can bust open offence for himself. But he’s an effective neutral zone player, and always comes out ahead in shot attempts. It’s not a perfect measure, and obviously doesn’t win hockey games in itself. But it indicates that he’s spending less time than the rest of the team trapped in his own zone. It’s a start.

I don’t know what to do with Pavelec. Both goals against were problems. He made an awkward stop with a funny bounce to the open side of the net that got batted in on goal one. And he had one pushed in from under him on #2. In both cases, the Jets should have had the goal scorer boxed out and for different reasons failed at it. But in both cases, there shouldn’t have been a scoring opportunity. He continues to make saves, so we can’t pin the struggles on him. That’s a start, too.

The Bad

Michael Frolik was a third line player in this division last year, and among the Jets’ best skaters this year. Setoguchi held his own in this division, too, which I mention to remind myself and our readers that the transitive property has sample size limitiations. Still, with respect to the Jets’ ability to compete in this Division, it’s a bad sign.

How about Bryan Little going 1 for 20 in the faceoff circle? I don’t even believe faceoffs to be critical to team success, but the man is playing centre and that’s a position with faceoffs in the job description. Again, it’s an issue of puck support. Indvidual players start to look extremely bad the moment there are no teammates around to help. 

Trouba was a team worst -16 corsi, meaning he was in his own end all night, and was the least successful at shot suppression. It wasn’t a good night for anyone, but it was a really bad night for Trouba. That Noel played him a team-leading 25 minutes isn’t a sign of his excellence. Noel has not ever shown that he will play the team’s best players more frequently. He is a coach with favourites, and those favourites get minutes. 

(Bogosian didn’t do much better at -14. Stuart and Wright were both double-digit offenders as well at -10.)

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but we heard talk before the season that Trouba and Scheifele would make the roster because they are Cheveldayoff’s guys. Is it possible Trouba is getting hung out to dry as part of a conflict between coach and GM? We know his coach doesn’t mind using his bench to win arguments. 

Speaking of Claude Noel under The Bad, why is it when this coach shortens his bench, Frolik gets fewer minutes than James Wright? Most coaches lean on their best skaters. Noel leans on the guys with the smallest distance between expected performance and current performance, regardless of where that player’s ceiling is. 

And bad on me for having a column format that requires I have a ‘The Good’ section after every game.

Best Play by Play Quote of the Game

"Clitsome gets double teamed and they get a stick on it." 

Sadly, #hockeyporn was Clitsome’s most thrilling contribution tonight.

  • Travis Hrubeniuk

    Well, four games does not a season make. But the early returns are starting to come in now, and it’s not looking good for the incumbent. The Claude Noel watch begins now. Initially I said he won’t make it through three quarters of the season. But if the jets continue on their current trajectory, it could come sooner rather than later.

    We’ve seen what happens to a teams fortunes when the coach has lost the room and the game I watched last night was looking hauntingly familiar. And the results from this current home stretch will ultimately be the determinant as to whether the coach stays, or goes.

    A rose, by any other name, is still a rose. And a turd, now matter how well polished, is still a turd. Conspicuous by its absense was any ebb and flow in the Jets play. The Jets looked at times that they were in a different time zone as they chased the puck most of the night. They seemed to be consistently behind the play, and while the season is still young,if this continues, it will be a long season indeed. And all this against one of the weaker sisters in our division.