He was good last night and seemed to play a superior two-way game to what we have seen. That being said there were no Jets in positive possession metric territory last night as the Stars out-chanced them by a wide margin. From one point in the second to the third period spanning over 20 minutes the Jets only had 5 shots. The go-ahead goal off a draw win by Scheifele was a thing of beauty with a release that had Niemi beat before he even knew the shot was fired. To get that much velocity on the puck with such little motion is incredible.
Hockeybuzz alumni Kevin Gibson put this tweet out:
From ESPN sports came this:
It's impressive to say the least and now Laine is just one goal behind fellow rookie Austen Mathews.
Nik Ehlers continued his incredible skating into and around the offensive zone. They guy is becoming a joy to watch with the puck and when he winds up his legs he's a very tough player to stop.
Laine- for obvious reasons.
Andrew Copp- was also very good again at least in the offensive zone as he created the space and made the pass for the opening goal by Laine.
Blake Wheeler- he led by example and was all hustle. Good on the forecheck and working to win puck battles all night with a bit of luck he might have had a few goals and the empty net goal was deserved.
Jacob Trouba- again it appears that he has been given the green light to do what he sees best by the coaches. He was all over the ice and like Ehlers is just an amazing site to watch when skating.
Joel Armia- had some nifty moves, saw the ice well and had more than a few chances and finally connected in the second period from Matthais in the slot.
Stuart, Chiarot and Postma- poor reads, gap control issues and generaly positioning made this trio an adventure every time they were on the ice.
Byfuglien- yes he had some rushes but he seems confused at times and his reads were questionable.
Petan- lots of effort but was again being beaten like a rented mule in the possession department
Scheifele- while notching a few points he struggled with two-way play and was rarely the winner in puck battles.
The predictable questions now come though and that is what happens after a slump-busting win. I heard it on TSN 1290 this morning, on the TV and on social media; this next road trip will tell us what the Jets are?
The Jets have played 59 games, the most in the NHL and have 56 points. Of the 5 teams below them, three could surpass them in point when equal to games played. If you consider that then the Jets are the third worst team in the NHL. They are the 20th team in the NHL for Corsi % at even strength and exactly the same in all situations.
Their power play is average 19th and the penalty kill worse at 27th. We already know about the goaltending. This is a bottom team in the NHL, bottom five team really and frankly it's indisputable.
What more can we 'find out' about them? There's no road trip that will save this season or anything. Unless the Jets do the unthinkable and get help from a collapse by a team(s) above them this is another year missing the playoffs.
If you want to look at the remaining 23 games as some sort of 'telltale' marker then it's for the coach more so than the players. Can he now start pushing the team in the right direction so that the metrics suggest and point to better results? That's what we need to know. Nothing else matters as much as that right now.
The aspirations of a post season appearance are gone. However, if the fortunes of the Jets are going to change it starts with improvement and if the coach can get through and make those changes happen. The Jets are near rock-bottom again with arguably a more talented roster, at least offensively. Can they change their game to be a high impact offensive team and more defensively sound with better goaltending?
If that's now what you want to know before the season ends then what the hell have you been watching for 59 games?
March 1, the trade deadline is two weeks away now and the Jets could and should be active. That means nothing going forward though because any pieces likely to be leaving are not ones worth worrying about for the future.
We know what this team is right now but if it matters to the organization it's time to find out if the coach can start building it to something that is better next year. Sadly this is the same conversation from last year and guess what last year on February 15th the Jets had played 55 games and 53 points. The more things change...