Drastic times call for drastic measures. Recalling Ondrej Pavelec early yesterday morning, in order to shore up the goal tending position, can be seen as such. But, how the Jets got to this point is a story all on it's own. The Winnipeg Jets are coming off a terrible road trip thru the southern U.S., losing 5-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Monday afternoon, and gaining 1 point out of a possible 6. A loss against the Arizona Coyotes and a overtime loss against the LA Kings rounded out the trip. In game #48 in the schedule, lots of questions remain, but the Jets coaching and management staff thought the goal tending problem should be answered first. I mean, the team is a mess right now.
View from Winnipeg:
The view as a Winnipeg Jets fan right now is down right ugly. Laine, Dano and Myers remain on the shelf. What's left over is a still a very talented squad, but that talent is not shining thru. No potentials are being brought out. The team is frustrated, and it shows. As the current coach puts it, "you are constantly chasing the game because the confidence in your goaltender isn't there". OK, at least it's a start, and I can go on and on using cliches and quotes from coaches past to thoroughly describe the troubles the team is now facing. But, I won't, and I'll leave it to Craig Button...
View from Arizona:
The Yotes are in a similar situation as the Jets, as they are just behind the Jets in points and well out of a playoff spot. But, what's intriguing here is, the Coyotes add new meaning to the phase "drastic times call for drastic measures". This is a team that isn't afraid to experiment, bring in fresh blood and see what happens. Built on a solid analytical philisophy with new management in place, the Coyotes have been recently aggressive and proactive when it comes to searching for the diamond in the rough. 3 recent waiver wire transactions can atest to that that, most recently picking up Jets castoff Burmistrov (who, by the way, picked up the assist on ARI's only goal against the Oilers the other night). One team's trash is another team's treasure, and Arizona isn't afraid to take a chance.
1. Can the Winnipeg Jets regroup? The team came out of the gates flying against the Sharks on Monday afternoon, but lady luck was not in the stands. Risky positional play by Stuart led to a Sharks breakaway goal, while Hutchinson, though solid, saw the puck rebound off his skate and into the net for another Sharks' score. Will she be in the stands and smile favorably for the Jets this go round?
2. Enstrom for Morrissey? For a brief time during the second period against the Sharks, Byfuglien was reunited with Enstrom, while Morrissey was paired with Trouba. Now whether it be line change or what not, these defensive pairings have actually been suggested a day earlier via Twitter and other social media, based upon each players strengths. And while the make shift pairings didn't last long, it gave us a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, the team is looking at different defensive pairings just like they are keen on shaking up the forward lines.
3. Would the #1 goalie please stand up! When Hutchinson is off his game, then Hellebuyck takes over and vice versa. But, wouldn't it be nice to have a definitive #1 net minder? I mean, that go to guy who you are confident in that can play a solid 60 minutes, 60 to 65 times a year? If Hellebuyck is the goalie for the future of the Jets, coughing up a game full of goals after a solid shut out is not the way to gain the coach's or the fans' favoritism. Now the Jets have added a third goalie to the mix, and things are about to get interesting or remain on it's dreadful course.
Players to watch:
Winnipeg Jets: Band-aid on a bullet wound - Look, I get it. the team is in a funk right now. Blame it on goaltending, defensive play, penalties, bad positioning, the moon and the stars, whatever. The recall of Ondrej Pavelec to the main roster isn't the injection of confidence the fanbase was looking for. However, it's up to Pavs to prove us wrong. It's his net, for now. The Winnipeg Jets management is counting on him to turn around the ship. For the time being Hellebuyck will be the back up, while Hutchinson is relegated back to 3rd stringer. One bad start or soft goal and the revolving door that is the Winnipeg Jets net will again go around and around. Then we'll have to entertain the Halak, Reimer, or Fleury to Winnipeg rumors again as the trade deadline approaches.
Arizona Coyotes: The cat came back - Alexander Burmistrov! I like Burmi, and I was really hoping he would be the catalyst for a successful Jets season this time around. To the point, I had hoped he was in the line up for every Jets game this year. However, I guess he had other plans. The Winnipeg Jets were at a cross roads, and had to subject him to waivers in order for him to be jettisoned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. The Coyotes saw value, and snagged him up like a boxing day special. Revengeful Burmi 3.0 could be the Jets downfall in this game.
What: Winnipeg Jets vs Arizona Coyotes
When: Wednesday, January 18th @ 6:30 pm CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
How: SN West, TSN 1290 AM, FS-A, ESPN 620 AM
Prediction: Both teams have something to prove, so with that, it's too close to call.