It's been a great start to the second season for the Jets ver 2.0 so far. Here's the highlights:
Who can forget the deafening crowd on opening night. The Staal boys in town reeking havoc on the defense, making Enstrom skate miles and making Byfuglien wish he had another sandwich waiting for him at the bench. The outcome wasn't what we wanted but it was still entertaining. Who knew Pavelec would get the hook in the opening game of the season?
That was a foreshadowing of things to come as Pavelec and Byfuglien struggled mightily in the first few weeks to the point where Byfuglien found himself on the injured list without knowing himself just what his injury was. Some members of the media thought it was a temporary malady called "obesity" but the club was tight lipped about the specifics. With Pavelec on the other hand it was more apparent that he was in management's doghouse. Backup goalie Al Montoya played almost half the games so far and has looked like he misses the anonymity of playing in Long Island. It might have been a bit overboard when the cashier at the local Superstore started giving him tips on keeping his glove hand a bit higher.
The major bright spot so far has been the play of Wheeler, Little, and Ladd. The three linemates have spent many shifts in the opposing zone cycling the puck and creating problems for the opposition D. In the first 13 games they've produced only 7 goals as a line so we're hoping all that offensive pressure produces goals soon. In the Flyers game, Ladd hit the goalie about 7 times with the puck and once without which prompty drew a 3 game suspension (the newly instated Lucic rule).
What a crazy game that was. Another 9-8 score filled with fights (in the stands, not on the ice). Chris Pronger made his unexpected return to the lineup but for some reason he kept skating over to the opposition bench. At first the Jets were laughing at him, thinking his post-concussion syndrome was still in effect. But after a while, they realized someone had tampered with the water bottles and there was a mad dash to the dressing room during every TV timeout.
Ollie Jokinen (OJ) has teased us with flashes of offensive promise. At least we know he can shoot the puck - just wish he'd hit the net more often. But was he always this slow in Calgary? There's been so many shifts where he hands the puck off to Burmistrov, and Burmi races past the enemy blueline, Jokinen disappears from view. There were a few times where I thought he was off on a line change but lo and behold, there he reappears, just in time to see the opposition start their breakout and manoeveur the puck past his outstretched stick.
It may be my tiny 57" TV but I swear Claude Noel is looking more and more like Mr Scrooge. His hair has greyed, his back seems hunched, and he's taken to poking his players with his cane when he wants them out for a line change. The stress of a 5-7-1 start may be getting to him. But I wouldn't worry too much. In his last media statement GM Chevy gave the coach a firm vote of confidence. It must be a coincidence that Scott Arniel was spotted walking around the corridors of MTS Centre during a Jets practice.
Can't wait for game 14 tomorrow night vs Boston. Lucic has been on a tear since avoiding suspension on that October 30th game vs the Sabres. That head butt he planted on Ryan Miller looked accidental enough except for the fact that Miller was the backup goalie that night and was sitting on the bench eating a tofu dog. Still, Sheriff Shanny did cite precedence in saying that when a players progress is such that he cannot stop himself it can be viewed as incidental contact. Since that game Lucic has been averaging a Gordie Howe hat trick every single period. Unprecedented.
When Evander Kane comes back from his stint in Russia I'm sure he'll do likewise. Oh wait. Did you forget? Kane announced that he'd rather stay in Russia than come back to Winnipeg. Or at lest that's what the twitter feed of his agent's cousin-in-law's brother said. That was retweeted about a million times before it was discovered that that feed actually belonged to Gary Lawless. Funny that no one has heard from Kane in weeks... Hope those Russian restaurants are OK with his IOUs....