JN AirMail – Feb 21

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Another week and another edition of Jets Nation Air Mail!

If you have questions either Jets related, or about hockey in general, we encourage you to e-mail us at JNAirMail@shaw.ca or tweet at us on the Twitter machine – but include the hashtag #JNAirMail so we don’t miss that question!

And here.. we… go…

Tyler asks: A lot is being made of the first game after the mandated week long player break. Is it really that harmful to teams and if so, why did the PA agree to it?

Mack: No, the rest is probably not bad for teams. It’s likely just a crazy small sample thing. That said, the PA seems to regret agreeing to it anyways; it has compressed the rest of the season and coaches seem PO’ed about it.
Garret: Too early to tell what is causation versus correlation. Why? Because the players wanted some time off and their job is to represent the players… problem is it had some repricussions that I don’t think the players are happy about.
Art: I think the bigger issue rather than the first game after a week long break is the compressed schedule every team is having to deal with. The Jets had a monster of a schedule to deal with in the first half of the season where it seemed like they were playing every other night, and now there are teams in this critical final stretch of games where they are playing multiple back to backs and a game every other night. I’m sure the players thought a week off in January / February was a good idea, but if I was a member of the players association, I’d be pushing for fewer exhibition games in the fall, start the season three weeks earlier and give a lot more two and three day breaks between games.
Cammers: I think the break is a good thing for the players mentally, but physically they seem rusty. A lot of the players have families and they have limited time to do things with their families, and I can imagine that would be very hard for their significant other. This is the first year with the mandated week and I think teams will be better prepared for it in following years.
mennoknight427 asks: Do you think the Jets will get rid of the man to man (defensive) system without firing Pomo?
Mack: They haven’t shown any inclination to switch up their d-zone systems so far, so probably not, no. I was anti-firing PoMo for a long time — wrote about it here — but I’ve come around on it, and the brutal d-zone play is part of that. I don’t really see any compelling argument for why you would bring him back next year. 
Garret: I would like to point that there is no team that is 100% strictly zone or man-to-man in defensive structures. All teams use some hybrid version with different actions expectations and switch offs depending on the situation. Jets are definitely leaning more towards the M2M than zone. There have been some changes in the past few games in their switch offs but it remains to be seen how much of that is just situational.
Art: It just baffles me how the Jets can be so awful at exiting their own zone – partly because of the lack of talent some of defense has but mostly because they are typically out of position due to their play style – and go all season trying to do the same thing over and over again and hope it leads to success. The revolving door of injuries hasn’t helped. Losing Myers, missing out on Trouba for a month or two, now possibly not having Enstrom for a month… None of those things have helped either which is why I think PoMo should get a pass, but not by much.
Cammers: I don’t think the system works well with the current roster for the Jets, even when everyone was healthy. So, unless PoMo has a huge change in heart over the summer, I think the only way we see the Jets playing more of a zone based system is with a new coach.
Collin asks: Which would you rather have: Winnipeg’s roster of young talent, or Toronto’s?
Mack: This has to be Toronto by a decent amount, right? Even if — charitably — you call Laine/Matthews, Rielly/Trouba and Marner/Ehlers a wash, the Leafs have a significant edge in depth. William Nylander, Connor Brown, Kasperi Kapanen, Travis Dermott, Andrew Nielsen… Toronto has an unreasonable number of good young players.
Garret: Define young? Is it under 30 where players haven’t started deteriorating with age? Is it under 25 where players have yet to peak? Is it under 23 where players are still in ELCs or are in non-pro hockey? I do think a lot of the difference in the NHL right now is Babcock being a top 3 coach. I also like that the Leafs have a dedicated research and development team of multiple full time employees.
Art: I think what Garret is trying to say is that the Jets should #HireGarret. Oh and I admit I am biased, but I wouldn’t trade our “youth” (and I include Scheifele on that) for any other team’s. Not that what Toronto hasn’t isn’t any good of course.
Cammers:  I’m a big fan of what the Jets have for young players. I wish there was another young defenceman in the AHL ready to be called up, but other than that the Jets should be set for the future.
  • Mike Modano's Dog

    In Mack’s assessment, he seemed to forget about Scheiffle, Morrissey, Lowry, Armia and Dano, and that’s only the players who are currently in the NHL. Connor and Roslovic are sure to make the jump next year, both with the potential to be top notch first-liners.

    Since I, of course, am completely free of biases, I can only conclude that the Jets’ young talent embarrasses the Leafs in terms of depth.