The Jets are back!
Ok, it's not as exciting as when it was announced in May, but hey I go a week without hokcey now and I start feeling withdrawal symptoms. It ain't pretty trust me...
The Jets return to action tonight in Philadelphia against the Broad Street Bullies in a match-up that the Jets have taken both times this year. And while that may be good, Philly still boasts the better record overall which is ultimately what matters...until the start of playoffs...and then there's seeding so it STILL matters.
Personally, I was hoping that the week off would see the Jets infirmary empty out and we'd get to see a full healthy squad take the ice tonight. But that is not to be. Alexander Burmistrov (concussion like symptoms), Evander Kane (concussion), Dustin Byfuglien (knee) and Tim Stapleton (lower body) will all be missing tonight's game, with Kaner and Steam Punk back in Winnipeg recuperating, while Burmi and Buff travel with the team on this 4 game road swing. Those latter two could figure into the lineup in the next few days.
Until then, we see two call-ups from the IceCaps, as Aaron Gagnon will play his second game in a row, and the guy who leads the IceCaps in scoring, Spencer Machacek, making his Jets debut. Here's hoping they can contribute offensively while being defensively responsible.
The Flyers also have encountered some mind numbing injuries, as both Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk have concussions, while Jaromir Jagr nurses an injured groin. And no matter how many times I say that last part, it always sounds weird.
Here's hoping the Jets can pull off a road upset tonight and find a way to get some points out of Philly
Keys to the Game, Lineups and Player Numbers, as well as my reasoning as to why Kyle Wellwood should have been an All-Star, coming up after THE JUMP
Keys to the Game:
- Come back recharged. I know there's only 32 out of 82 games left, but the "second half" should be kicked off with a bang. The Jets should be reenergized and the soldiers like AC Slater and Stu should have had some time to let bruises heal and should be raring to go. Despite the time off, the Jets will be without the scoring abilities of Burmi, Kaner and Buff so other forces will need to make themselves known. Perect opportunity for a Fehr, Miettinen or Machacek type to make themselves known.
- Also on the shelf is Steam Punk, aka Tim Stapleton, so the Jets will also be featuring Aaron Gagnon tonight.
- The Flyers are good, but Winnipeg has beaten them both times earlier this year. Of course that means squat, but it's nice to know it's doable.
- The top line of
Kane- Little- Wheeler is in need of a LW. Mittens and Ladd as well as Fehr have all tried to fill the void thus far. Without consistency there, the line won't be able to mesh, so hopefully Noel has been keeping the same guys together in practice.
- Between now and February 17 the Jets have 7 road games. If they want to make the playoffs, they have to be able to get something out of these, or they should be active at the deadline on February 27.
- Stupid penalties suck. And by stupid penalties I mean offensive zone penalties. Last game it was Fehr taking the place of Ladd in the sin bin for a completely needless penalty. Thou shall not shoot self in foot
- No Jets at All-Star week? No problem in my books! Although sending Kyle Wellwood would have made my day. He might have taken the accurate shot competition. You never know
Jets (GP 50 22-22-6 50 PTS)
#16 Andrew Ladd -- #18 Bryan Little -- #26 Blake Wheeler
#17 Eric Fehr -- #80 Nik Antropov -- #13 Kyle Wellwood
#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #22 Chris Thorburn
#20 Antti Miettinen -- #21 Aaron Gagnon -- #46 Spencer Machacek
#39 Tobias Enstrom -- #6 Ron Hainsey
#29 Johnny Oduya -- #4 Zach Bogosian
#5 Mark Stuart -- #12 Randy Jones
#31 Ondrej Pavelec
Mittens on the top line scares me...so I put Ladd in that spot. Ladd's Little Wheeler returns!
Flyers (GP 48 29-14-5 63 PTS)
#19 Scott Hartnell -- #28 Claude Giroux -- #68 Jaromir Jagr
#24 Matt Read -- #14 Sean Couturier -- #17 Wayne Simmonds
#32 Tom Sestito -- #27 Maxime Talbot -- #93 Jakub Voracek
#45 Jody Shelley -- #10 Brayden Schenn -- #22 Ben Holmstrom
#5 Braydon Coburn -- #44 Kimmo Timonen
#43 Marc-Andre Bourdon -- #25 Matt Carle
#26 Erik Gustafsson -- #41 Andrej Meszaros
#30 Ilya Bryzgalov
The Flyers have proven that teams can succeed when their star players get hurt, if you have depth scoring.
Player to boo mercilessly: Jody Shelley. 615 games. 18 goals. 1501 penalty minutes. Goons...I hate goons.
Prediction: Winnipeg 1-3 Philadelphia. The effort should be there, hopefully the scoring is too. But with Kaner and Buff sitting, i'm not optimistic.