When it rains, it showers. Or, well, since it’s winter time, I suppose it’s snowing somewhere. The Winnipeg Jets snowball of a very different kind, and it carries the team to the bottom of the Central Division. Winnipeg played its Thursday night game against the Vancouver Canucks without a win in his last 5 games. Vancouver provided the perfect opportunity for a rebound victory to stop the bleeding and get some good vibes circulating. The Canucks are nowhere near as good as their recent form indicates, giving the Jets a good chance of a win. Instead, we got The Big Sadness.
- Jonathan Kovacevic had a solid NHL debut. The 24-year-old Moose defender looked like a guy you could trust 10-12 minutes a night on your third pairing. Winnipeg was looking for a Tucker Poolman replacement and may have one that is already getting big pro-minutes. It remains to be seen how many games Kovacevic will get this season, but the Jets blue line injuries have certainly opened the doors.
- Ville Heinola had a particularly better outing, which might sound like a low bar to clean up. He is still figuring out how to adapt his extremely aggressive game at the big club. The Jets are back to being pretty conservative on the back, which should make Heinola feel like a fish out of water. Once he can calm down his decision making and energy a bit, he should be able to give the Jets some quality transition work.
- Winnipeg was generally pretty bland. The top-6 created some great opportunities, but found a challenge against Spencer Martin. The depth lines have …. something! The lack of finishing talent becomes a serious problem with this team.
- Copp scored the only Jets goal and still looks like one of the bigger candidates for trade deadlines for contenders. He should get a solid return if the Jets (right) choose to let him look for greener pastures.
- Hellebuyck seriously needs a break. He has struggled the last few games on and off and the refusal to turn to Comrie is puzzling. I understand that Eric is not Hellebuyck’s clone, but even the best need a break. The Canucks were one of the softer opponents that gave Eric some time in the net.
- Winnipeg now looks pretty lost. The post-match quotes sound like a bunch of guys who do not know how to fix the myriad problems plaguing the team. Morale is low and can spiral seriously if the Jets do not win something soon.
- The upcoming off-season could shape the next 5-10 years of Winnipeg hockey, and it’s critical for the Jets to recruit wisely. The front office and coaching staff both need serious evaluation, from top to bottom. Let’s hope Winnipeg can fix the ship before I move on to the next life …