The Art Gallery – Post Season Pondering

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© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Playoffs?! You wanna talk about playoffs?!

No one should have been surprised that the Jets lone move of the Trade Deadline was to take pending UFA Drew Stafford and go shipping him up to Boston under the wire, but GM Kevin Cheveldayoff stating in his subsequent press conference that the team was still in a playoff race was maybe not expected as much.

Insert that blinking surprised man GIF that’s all the rage on Twitter here.

I know some Jets fans loathe the idea write this team off a mere five points out of a playoff spot with 18 games left in the season, but as much as all of us would love to see a miracle playoff run out of nowhere, you don’t need fancy stats to tell you that jumping over three or maybe even four teams by winning about three more games (if not more) than the Kings, Stars, Flames and Blues is asking far too much.

I want to preface the following by saying that there is nothing in the last two years of Jets hockey to suggest they have the ability to pull this kind of run off. I’m also going to put out the disclaimer that my math could be a bit off here so if you yell at me, please yell at me nicely in the comments because we’re just spit-balling here.
Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and suppose that the Winnipeg Jets go a modest 9-5-4 to finish the season. They wouldn’t even need to go on a dreaded three game win streak under this scenario which is why we’ll settle on this record because as much as one can try to imagine a situation where the Jets make the playoffs, we still have to be grounded in some sort of reality.

If the Jets managed that achievable record down the stretch, that gets them to 84 points. They would still need the two teams immediately ahead of them – the Los Angeles who currently occupy the last wild card playoff spot and St. Louis Blues who are one point behind them – to each earn 15 total points or less.

That’s asking the Blues to play sub .500 hockey over their last 20 games, but for funsies in this situation let’s say they go something like 6-11-3. It’s also asking the Kings to go no better than say a record of 6-9-3. Don’t kid yourself, neither of those things will probably happen, but the Blues have lost four in a row and the Kings last three games have been OTL, OTL and W (in OT granted), so this isn’t “impossible” per say, but now we’re not only asking the Jets go true .500 hockey – something they haven’t been able to do all season – but we’re hoping that the two teams directly ahead to outright colapse at the same time.

For added measure, the Jets then would also have to hope the teams behind them – Dallas and Vancouver – don’t happen to get on a good run as well and manage to be any better than .500 clubs either. Of course there isn’t much worry about this happening, but then many would say the same about the Jets.

But it doesn’t matter what any of the other teams do becaise ALL of this is based on a premise that the Jets go on a run unlike any that they have been on since they came to Winnipeg.

#TheJetsAreActuallyMissingThePlayoffs

Good on Chevy and the coaches and the players for spinning positivity and right now of course they should. It’s one thing for lowly bloggers to give up on the season but you’d hate to hear the actual team pack it in themselves.

But don’t let the players hope and optimisim distract you from the fact the Jets have blown another season with no real light at the end of the tunnel.

DUD DEADLINE

A lot has been made of the lackluster deadline this past Wednesday and there was no lack of trying to figure out how we’ve gone from years of record player movement earlier in the decade to a day where the biggest news story during this year’s deadline was the return of Jay and Dan to Canada.

Is it the salary cap? Perhaps, but that’s not going anywhere any time soon obviously and it’s been more than a decade with it around so it can’t be like GMs have no idea how to work with it.

Is it because NHL general managers are “afraid” to pull the trigger on a big deal that may be all-or-nothing? Maybe a little, but I think if you hooked up a lie detector to Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher he would fully admit to a big overpay on guys like Martin Hanzal and Ryan White – he refered to the deal as “putting all our chips on the table” – with the idea that this was as good a time as any for the Wild to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Washington has taken a risk with the Shattenkirk deal as has Ottawa giving up a blue chip prospect for two years of a declining Alex Burrows. GMs are still taking risks, maybe just not on the same level as years past.

The other (and maybe biggest) throry I’ve read as to the reason behind a slow deadline is that so many teams – the Winnipeg Jets clearly included as we just discussed – feel they are still within reach of a playoff spot. Would that change if we had the “true three point” results where a regulation win is worth three points while a OT win is only worth two and an OTL is worth one? Our friends over at Flames Nation looked at the idea earlier this year and came to the conclusion that aside from a few slight differences there wouldn’t be much change and races would still be tight.

So is there a way to “fix” the deadline? I don’t know that there is. We had a perfect storm of most teams being ok with what they had and not wanting to go all out to change things up, a looming expansion draft this summer that has teams locked up a slight bit and of course the three previous concerns mentioned all play a factor one way or another.

Maybe you no longer need to worry about taking the day off during the next deadline.

Then again a day of watching TV hockey pundits perform bad comedy bits and squirm while begging for a trickle of hockey news is still better than a day in the office isn’t it?

QUICK HITS

A reminder than Matt Murray – the Pittsburgh Penguins goalie who helped lead his team to a Stanley Cup last season – is still “technically” a rookie and while we’re all busy talking Laine or Matthews with the odd bit of Marner or Werenski thrown in, Murray has put together a 34-23-8 record this season with a .926 save percentage which is good for 6th amoung league leading goalies. Laine and Matthews have had slumps and dry spells (albeit brief in both cases) but I think you can argue Murray really hasn’t had any of the sort save for the odd clunker of a game – some of which he has still pulled out a win by at least being the better goalie on the ice

My biased pick for Calder made with my heart is still Laine, but my brain is wondering how Matt Murray isn’t a bigger part of the Calder conversation if not an outright walk away winner of this thing already.


The touching tribute to P.K. Subban by the Montreal Canadiens and insanely long standing ovation by the Habs faithful on Thursday night all seemed like a reminder that the Habs really did mess up big time in trading him away.


Have you seen the new NHL Stanley Cup ad? As always, top level hockey-feels here. The NHL messes up a lot of things (looking at you Department of Player Safety) but they always nail the playoff hype.