The Jets returned to action after a humbling performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, a “lay-up” game against the Arizona Coyotes proved to be anything but. Winnipeg was dealt a veritable gut-check, conceding 4 goals before the 40th minute of action. The potent offense, relied upon to disguise a paper-thin blueline unit, dried up. The Jets aren’t good right now, and it may get worse before it gets better
Paul Maurice is out of ideas and out of time.
I’ve not hidden my distaste for some of Maurice’s tactical and line-up decisions, but tonight was pretty close to rock-bottom. The Jets were utterly outclassed in almost every facet by a team icing half an NHL line-up. Arizona gave Winnipeg more than a few opportunities to claw back into this game and the Jets capitulated instead. Maurice is cooked, and his continued preference for players like Letestu, Bourque, Bitetto, and Kulikov should get him fired. It’s one thing to let those guys play, but they’re all getting a ton of ice-time day in and day out.
David Gustafsson is going to be quite good.
Gus had himself a nice NHL debut, poor team performance be damned. His vision, positioning, and natural instincts were all on display in NHL game 1. If Gustafsson continues to develop and hone his skillset, he could become the true second line centre this team desperately needs. The Jets need to get him continued ice-time, be it with the big club or elsewhere. Pressbox and practice sessions aren’t enough.
The vets are not playing well.
I’m not going to harp on the obvious names here, but some of Winnipeg’s more established talents need to wake up and do something. Blake Wheeler has been particularly brutal, and this isn’t a new trend. Though Wheeler’s point totals have looked tidy, everything underneath the box score is a bit of a disaster. His contract extension is just starting to kick in and it already makes me wince. If this is what Wheeler is going forward (and it’s only going to get worse as he ages), Winnipeg is in some serious trouble.