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Photo Credit: © Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets Day After: You Share Your Thoughts (And I Comment On Them)

Ya know these “day after” post-game thoughts posts can kind of be repetitive, especially with this Winnipeg Jets team. It’s pretty much the same story after every game and definite patterns have emerged. They get out-shot often. Connor Hellebuyck bails them out a lot. The defense at the best of times is very average, but otherwise it’s AHL quality. Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele are good. Paul Maurice makes very questionable lineup decisions.

And so on, and so on.

So last night after the Jets dropped a 5-4 loss to the Boston Bruins, I reached out to you all on the Twitter machine for you to share your post-game thoughts, because after all this is JetsNATION and it’s just as much a voice for all of you as it is for myself.

So here we go…

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That really was how I felt after the game and I suspect a lot of others did as well. The Jets did get a 4-3 lead a little under eight minutes into the third period, and I was certain that at *worst* the Jets would get out of Boston with at least a point, so blowing that lead with two goals against a mere 30 seconds apart about three minutes later stings.

That said, I’m not as annoyed about it as I might have been in other situations. Second night of a back to back on the road… Generally being out-played through most of the game (although not nearly as badly as they were in Toronto which was kind of surprising)… Boston is a really good club… It’s not like I enjoy making excuses, but for the sake of one’s hockey sanity, I think it’s perfectly fine to dismiss a loss for not-so-trivial reasons.

You’re not the only one and last night you could sense it from the coach and players in their post-game comments. Andrew Copp’s post-game comments resonated with me the most. These guys are professionals and they clearly recognize they missed an opportunity to have a really good road trip despite some negative factors against.

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So not to downplay how you, or I or any of us fans and media feel about last night’s loss, but if it bugs us that there was a missed opportunity for seven out of eight points on a road trip, imagine how the players feel about it. It’s not going to ruin them by any stretch, but it’s going to stick with them for a bit all the same. Couple this game with the Minnesota game where that too was a bit of a blown chance at two full points – albeit taken away in a different fashion.

Five out of eight ain’t so bad though.

That’s not a bad opinion to have and again it was some of the same stuff we’ve seen all season that just feels like self-inflicted damage done by the Jets. A couple of bad line changes led to two of the goals. Poor defensive positioning led to two others. David Pastrnak has one of the best shots in the league and I think giving him any kind of room and space is just asking for trouble and on two of his three goals the Jets made sure he had plenty of both.

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Also, speaking of “bad choices” I think the officiating from last night falls into that department as well. You all know me, you know I hate to blame them, but of the four penalties that were called on the Jets last night, maybe one of them – the Blake Wheeler tripping – was the only legit one. The other three seemed like such weak almost non-existent or coincidental plays… The Jets were in tough enough as it was going into the game Thursday night, the last thing the needed was the refs to up the degree of difficulty.

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My quick knee jerk reactions after each Laurent Brossoit goal against…

Boston goal 1 – No chance on a one-timer like that from Pasta.

Boston goal 2 – A tough ask for a save there. Again, Pasta has a helluva shot.

Boston goal 3 – Same thoughts I always have on breakaway goals. Tough for the goalie in a one v one setting, but a save would have been nice there.

Boston goal 4 – What’s that saying about “always stop the first shot”? LB did that here but bad line change and no one to bail him out with three B’s attacking.

Boston goal 5 – Beautiful deflection goal from DeBrusk. Those are the kind you dream about as a forward tasked with parking your behind in front of the net. What could LB have done there? Anything?

So yeah, I think it’s fair to say he had a good game with just some tough breaks. The Bruins had 16 high danger scoring chances at 5v5 for the entire game, so he was busy and still gave the Jets a chance to win. I’d be very hesitant to put any of the result of this game on LB even if there were a couple of goals you do the ol’ “needed a timely save there” bit.

One thing I will disagree with on you here, Niku – when healthy and playing in the AHL – has been great. He can be just as good in the NHL, but he needs more than just two games with small playing minutes to settle in and he needs a better partner than Anthony Bitetto. Otherwise, I am with you on this.

It’s not like Bitetto or Luca Sbisa are shutdown defensemen. It’s not like ANY of the Jets defensemen have been lock-down stalwarts on their own blueline. I get that Niku does have to work on his play without the puck, be smarter in his own end of the ice, and not get visibly frustrated to the point where it throws off his game, but what I don’t get is this feeling we get from Paul Maurice that somehow replacing Sbisa or Bitetto in the lineup with Niku seems like it would be a downgrade.

Sbisa and Bitetto by this summer should no longer be (or at least, they had better not be for various reasons) Winnipeg Jets. That reason alone is why you should have a kid like Niku in there now. Yes you’re trying to win games and stay in a playoff race, but if you don’t start playing Niku on a regular basis now, then when?

And for what it’s worth, I hate picking on Sbisa and Bitetto – especially Sbisa because I feel like he hasn’t been all that bad – but those are the two guys that weren’t part of this team’s plans at the start of the season and were waiver wire scrap pick ups that both barely played in the NHL a season ago but yet have full-time gigs with Winnipeg now. It’s aggravating on multiple levels.

At this point, I don’t get it. As our good friend Murat Ates pointed out yesterday, we should at least be encouraged that when the Jets had to send a guy down to the AHL Moose to make room for Dmitry Kulikov, they opted to send Logan Shaw down through waivers rather than take the easy way out with a non-waiver player like Niku or Jansen Harkins. But it doesn’t do them any good to keep them press-boxed either.

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