The Winnipeg Jets are fighting for their playoff lives and their goalies have not gotten the message. Both Ondrej Pavelec and Al Montoya looked shaky tonight and that did not help the Jets as they tried to beat the New York Rangers. Both Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane were unlucky to not end their scoring droughts tonight. The fourth line looks good with Eric O'Dell centring it but I really do not agree with Jim Slater centring Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien. But hey, Paul Maurice knows best.
1. The first period featured some of the Jetiest goaltending one could ask for from both teams. Gary Lawless mused (correctly IMO) that Maurice should think about pulling Pavelec. After Al Montoya came out to start the second, it was announced that he was out for the game with an injury. The Twitterverse exploded with remarks that he was out with hurt feelings.
2. Montoya was not much better than Pavelec. The fourth goal was bad and the third goal was a back-breaker as it was scored with 5 seconds left in the second period. Sometimes the time of the save matters just as much as the save itself.
3. Kane looked fantastic tonight. If he had any luck he would have scored at least one goal and set up another. He was flying up and down the ice. He also did not chirp the referee when he got called for a trip in the dying minutes. If he keeps this play up, he will score goals again soon.
4. On the opposite end of the spectrum, WTF Bogosian!?!? Bad penalties and clueless defending are two things that he showed tonight. There may be potential there, but Alex Pietrangelo was taken one pick after him by the St. Louis Blues and he looks like he is the better player than Bogosian by a long shot.
5. What has Dustin Byfuglien's shooting percentage been during his recent hot streak? I still prefer him on defence but the thinness upfront combined with the refusal to play O'Dell with skilled players makes Buff a necessity up front for the moment.
6. The slide by Dan Girardi that led to Tobias Enstrom jumping over him and planting himself into the boards was a weird play. Enstrom had nowhere to go but overtop of Girardi and Girardi needed to stand up so he would not hurt himself. Thankfully both players were alright in the end.
7. If Pavelec is ruled out for any amount of time does Michael Hutchinson get the call and leave the IceCaps without their starter as they continue to prepare for the playoffs? And if Hutchinson does get the call, how many games does he play and does it become an audition for next year?
8. Arby was at the game tonight so he does not have his playoff chances handy yet, but they are lower by the day. When do the Jets start burning their four call ups and auditioning players from the IceCaps for next year?
9. Just caught a brief snippet of the comments, but Lawless was talking about Maurice and next year. Maurice's family currently lives in Columbus and any decision on his future with the club will be made with them. The earlier the Jets are done, the more time he has to talk things over with them and negotiate a contract with the Jets if they elect to move to Winnipeg. Not making the playoffs could help the Jets know the direction that Maurice is going to take sooner, allowing them to have a thorough search for a new head coach if need be.
10. According to Garret, Lawless may be betting too high on Lipon, Lowry, and Kosmachuk as NHLers. If they make it, they will most likely be bottom sixers. Those guys are needed though and if you draft a skilled guy who becomes one, then you can have a fourth line like the Chicago Blackhawks, which is pretty good.
The Jets have until the end of June to use both of their compliance buyouts on contracts signed before the new CBA. This means that they have to make a decision on Pavelec. If he is hurt, they cannot buy him out. James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs will most likely be available this summer and he would be a suitable replacement. As Edmonton showed, you can trade for goalies in season very easily if you want to, so not having a NHL goalie at the start of the season should not be a concern if free agency is a strike out; there is always the trade market (insert laugh track here).
As Arby would say #GolfJetsGolf