A gold medalist, a Russian, and a mentor walk into a bar: Jets Nation Three Stars of week

Photo credit:© Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
By Goose
5 months ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! Hey, look, a new weekly article! It’s a pretty standard three stars of the week for the Winnipeg Jets organization. With the Jets starting off the new year perfectly, we might as well start calling out the players on the team who are shining brighter than our sun.
Third Star – Vlad Namestnikov
We all know Vlad Namestnikov is a genius on the ice. He had a fantastic first week of the new year. In four games, he scored one goal and racked up six points. His lone goal of the week opened the scoring between the Jets and the Arizona Coyotes 17:16 into the first period of Sunday night’s game.
Namestnikov also had two multi-point games, including a revenge three-point game against one of his former teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning. On top of that, he was a plus three this past week and just seemed to be playing the right game all last week.


Second Star – Rutger McGroarty
You can’t ignore a captain who just won gold. After suffering a punctured lung and fractured rib on Nov. 18, Rutger McGroarty’s status for the World Juniors was in doubt. Thankfully, he was good to go for the World Junior’s tournament in Sweden, where he captained Team USA.
McGroarty helped open the scoring in the gold medal game with an assist on Gabe Perreault’s goal. He also scored his first goal and the final goal of the tournament, an empty-net goal with 3:10 remaining in the game. The U.S. went on to earn a 6-2 victory for the gold medal at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. During his seven games in the tournament, he was a point-a-game player with one goal and six assists.
McGroarty was the first forward to captain Team USA in the World Juniors since Luke Kunin captained the team in 2016-17. Some may have found the actions of the Americans to be too much after securing the win, but the arrogance shown by our friends south of the border was just what international hockey needs.
Seeing the joy from McGroarty and his family with the tournament cup brings this blogger a little happiness and big expectations for the future of who I assume will be the future captain of the Jets.
First Star – Chuck Hellebuyck and the Mentors
It was so much fun to see the dads and the amazing mentors show up for all the Jets players on this three-game road trip. Chuck Hellebuyck, Connor’s dad, was a highlight on X for Jets nation. I am sure the mentor’s trip video that is put together for the Jets’ social media will be one of the most-watched things in their history.
In complete honesty, seeing the mentors and dads come out for their guys was so good to see, from the high fives after goals, to the dads talking about their favorite player who is not their son. Without the sacrifice of the men in the Jets’ lives, we wouldn’t get to see this team.
To the dads and mentors of the Jets and the kids out there, you are always the first star of the week! Going above and beyond to make sure your kids are going to practice and games, feeding them, and making sure they have the right equipment. Mentors of athletes and even non-athletes, y’all are the best.
An Extra Star
As I was finishing editing this article, Connor Hellebuyck was named the third star of the week in the NHL. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Jets all-star’s outstanding performance over the last seven days. He started three of four games and picked up a victory in all three games.
On top of that, the Jets’ goaltender had a stellar 1.68 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage in the three games. I would honestly be willing to bet a few shekels that Hellebuyck will be one of the three stars in the months of December and January.

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