The Chicago Blackhawks demonstrated why they are the defending champions. The Jets? Well they demonstrated why they are a non-playoff team and proved that they just aren't good enough to keep up with the speed, skill, and checking of Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks star players played like star players, whereas the Jets top players (notice I didn't refer to the Jets top players as stars, because.... well, they aren't stars) did not play well enough to help their team stay in the game.
Inconsistency continues to be an issue for the Jets. The effort level was not consistent throughout the lineup, they didn't battle for the puck hard enough, and they were outclassed in so many ways, yet didn't play at their worst. The Jets out hit the Blackhawks 34 to 16 and they blocked more shots than the Blackhawks. But this is mostly because Chicago had possession more then Winnipeg. The telling stats of the game for me will show that the Blackhawks won 60% of the faceoffs and had 14 takeways to the Jets' 5. The Jets were out battled. Plain and Simple.
- Evander Kane: Healthy Scratch or nagging injury? Kane told Gord Miller of TSN that he was fine and was reported to have said he was healthy enough to play to other members of the media. If Kane was really healthy enough to play, why would Noel sit, arguably, his best player against the defending Stanley Cup champions? Noel stated in his post-game press conference that Kane was held out due to a lingering lower body injury and you would have to believe there has to be some truth to this and the coaching staff felt it was best to keep him out to ensure he has adequate time to heal from his injury. Kane is a competitive player and would have played through his injury if it was up to him. Ultimately, the right decision was probably made by the coaching staff to keep him out.
- Dustin Byfuglien was god awful defensively against his old team. His defensive lapses resulted in Blackhawk goals and he made a better door than a window for Montoya on Patrick Kane's goal at the end of the first period. Buff was caught standing still in front of the net and watched his old buddy Jonathan Toews walk in on Al Montoya and tuck in the first goal five hole. Buff has to be battle harder and help out his goaltender in front and prevent plays like that from happening. That's called DEFENSE. And although Byfuglien has been a lot better at choosing when to pinch and has been less of a rover than in years past, his decision to leave his position on the right side of the ice and leave Brandon Pirri all alone cost the Jets and extended the Hawks lead to 3-0. But hey, Buff got an assist. So there's that right.
- The other two former Blackhawk players in Andrew Ladd and Michael Frolik were much better for the Jets. But, although they battled hard for pucks and did some good things offensively, neither could help the Jets find the back of the net.
- Little, Ladd, and Wheeler were reunited and created some chances for themselves. Wheeler played a hard game tonight and was seen making some good hits and even battled in front of the net a few times.
- The Powerplay continues to the powerless play for the Jets as they went 0 for 2 on the night and failed to gain entry into the Blackhawks' zone and were unable to set up in an attempt to create, well, anything. But at least they were perfect on the penalty kill, making special teams a non-factor in the game.
- Keaton Ellerby had another good game tonight and appears to be a good pickup off the Chevy wire, I mean waiver wire, for the Jets. Ellerby played another smart and simple game. Easily an upgrade over Stuart in my opinion.
- Eric Tangradi did everything but score tonight but it was his presence in front of the Cory Crawford that really helped the Jets get on board with Devon Setoguchi's goal in the 3rd. Tangradi helped the Jets maintain possession and won a lot of the puck battles along the boards in the Blackhawks end.
- Patrick Kane made the Jets players look like the stand still pucks in his youtube video the way he stick handled around them all night.
The Jets had opportunities to take the body on some of those plays but were caught watching the puck instead and had to pull their pants up after being made to look bad by Kane's moves around them in the Jets end.
- Although he was scored on 4 times, Al Montoya played relatively well. His positioning was fairly solid, but turnovers and a lack of assistance from his teammates on the ice, whether it be their effort, their inability to clear their own zone, or their positioning, the Jets players did not do enough to help out their goalie.One thing the Jets didn't do that they did well against Detroit was clog up the neutral zone. If they can learn to do that consistently, they will see better results defensively and offensively. But then again, that involves consistency and we all know how well the Jets do with that.
- Finally, Brandon Bollig's hit that put Adam Pardy through the glass led to the most bizarre moment of the game when a fan decided to reach around the fallen glass and proceeded to rip Pardy's helmet off of his head and put it on his own head in a moment that would make only Rob Ford proud. To add further insult to injury, a female fan poured beer on Pardy seconds later. This was cap to a sad night for me. As a Jets fan and an Irishman, the loss stings, but to miss out on a night of drinks with the rest of the AIH crew and then to see a fan waste a beer like that..... disappointment just doesn't cover it.