See, the J is actually a hockey stick.
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.
The Jets lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night. Winnipeg has dropped both their meetings to the division rival Avalanche this season. With three more upcoming match-ups (and six potential points), the Jets need to figure out how to beat this young Avalanche team. Colorado has become tough to beat after breakout seasons from Matt Duchene, Nate MacKinnon, and Semyon Varlamov, who allegedly kidnapped and assaulted his girlfriend.
As I wrote in yesterday’s post-game analysis, the Jets had trouble containing Colorado’s speed. Byfuglien, Stuart, and Clitsome all had some serious mobility issues against the Avanlanche youngsters. Byfuglien seemed to benefit from playing with speedy Toby Enstrom, so Noel may want to look at pairing his more mobile defenders with less agile partners. Also, the Jets will need to find a way to solve Semyon Varlamov, who has thus far posted an impressive .921 save percentage, and who also allegedly kidnapped and assaulted his girlfriend.
Though their hot start is cooling off a bit, Colorado is another formidable opponent for Winnipeg in the already stacked Pacific Division. They have depth and speed throughout their line-up, whereas Winnipeg does not. They have an innovative new coach willing to change the whole system up, while Winnipeg does not. Winnipeg has an acrobatic goaltender who struggles with inconsistency, Colorado has a starter who looks to be the real deal, and who allegedly assaulted and kidnapped his girlfriend.
SHOUT OUT TO THE SHOOTOUT
Remember when the Jets went 5-1 in the shootout to start the year? Oops. Don’t look now, but with the loss to Colorado Thursday night, Winnipeg has dropped their last three shootouts and fallen to 5-4. Captain Andrew Ladd started the year scoring on his first five attempts, but has now scored once in his last four.
The shootout is, of course, a joke. Michael Bublé hit the post on Roberto Luongo a couple years ago during a Canucks practice, so that proves my point without question. However, it wasn’t too long ago when every newspaper in Winnipeg was singing the praises of the Jets’ shootout victories – as if they were proof the Jets were doing something right. Suddenly, the topic isn’t so important, and local coverage has returned to "play harder or something" and "why aren’t these Jets, who aren’t good, winning?".
Jets management and media both seem to need glasses. I heard Henry Kissinger’s are floating around somewhere.
Above .920 save percentage and the law.
KANE WE TRADE HIM YET?
As news came out this past week that Evander Kane would miss more time with this lower-body injury than expected, rumours simultaneously leaked out online that General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff had begun fielding offers for the young winger. Kane has had a disppointing season so far, failing to match the near point-per-game pace he established a couple seasons ago.
Almost all of Winnipeg’s offense has come from their top line of Ladd-Little-Wheeler this season, with little support coming from the bottom nine forwards. The blame for Winnipeg’s failing second line has been firmly placed on Kane’s shoulders this season, after a theory surfaced claiming he just isn’t a good linemate.
Our own Travis Hrubeniuk examined the suddenly popular theory and found that it isn’t really true. And when you think about it, it isn’t rocket science. Kane is bound to go through struggles during his career, but if I had Kane on a line with a 35-year old who scored 14 points last year, I wouldn’t say Kane is the problem.
GOOGLE SEARCH: OLLI JOKINEN MASSAGE
This and this are articles from Winnipeg’s two major newspapers. Both of them are about how Olli Jokinen keeps a personal massage therapist with him and is glad he can have a massage before bed when the Jets play at home.
Meanwhile, the Jets are 14-14-5, have the league’s worst powerplay, and are 12 points out of a playoff spot.
Nice work, boys.
FIVE-HOLE OF THE WEEK
It didn’t technically go through anybody’s five-hole, but it’s still an important goal. Wheeler sets up Scheifele for the rookie’s first ever OT winner. Scheifele finally gets some timely offense after Paying It Forward to the opposition for so long.