Gametime Art is the editor of Jetsnation.ca. We asked him these questions a couple weeks ago when the Hawks got pummeled in Winnipeg. Follow him @GameTimeArt.
So the Jets have lost to the Preds twice in the past couple weeks. Does that put any fear into your playoff hopes or does the fact that the Jets (barring something stupid) will win their first playoff game and quite possibly series since being resurrected be enough for everyone?
In a strange way it doesn’t really put fear into most Jets fans because those last two meetings have been with a Jets team with four or more regulars out of the lineup including their top center and top defenseman and really save for a stretch of ten minutes at the end of one game and ten minutes at the start of the other, a depleted Jets lineup hung in ok against the Preds, so I think there is still hope that if the Jets can get healthy, they should give Nashville a good fight. That said, I think everyone expects good things from the first round and then we’ll worry about a potential second round blood bath against the Predators.
Blake Wheeler has 77 points. He shifted to center when Scheifele was hurt. And yet he doesn’t seem to be getting any Hart Trophy love. While it would be hard to make a case for him over say MacKinnon or Hall or Malkin or Kucherov, shouldn’t he at least be discussed?
Maybe a little… If there was an award for most inspiring leader who leads inspiringly – is that the Messier award? – then Blake should get that hands down. As far as most valuable player, I’d say he deserves a brief mention but I don’t even know if he’s the MVP on the Jets as I’d argue Connor Hellebuyck has been far more important to the Jets win totals than anything Blake has done. Then again, maybe I’m just not used to seeing actual good goaltending for my team so I could be biased.
Flying under the radar a bit is Kyle Connor, thanks to Wheeler and Laine and Barzal in the Calder race. What’s most impressive about his game as a rookie?
I love Connor’s ability to weave in and out of traffic when he has the puck, especially when it comes to skating into the offensive zone. He seems to have this ability to find just enough room on the ice to make a move past a defender or at the very least give himself an extra second to move the puck forward or pass it off to a teammate.
How much has Trouba been missed?
A lot and really it’s only because with Trouba out, it has meant Tyler Myers I’d argue has gotten more minutes per game than he can handle and Myers’ game – especially in the defensive zone – has suffered because of it. Byfuglien has done well in stepping up as he does and Josh Morrissey is quietly good as always, but Trouba is kind of the lynchpin that holds the Jets defense together. To put it in a much dumber context, Trouba to the Jets defense is like syrup to waffles. Sure, the waffles are ok without it, maybe even good depending on the quality of the other ingredients you have, but syrup just makes the entire dish so much better. Jacob Trouba is syrup.
With only 12 games to go…what do you foresee for the Jets come the spring?
Increased health going into the playoffs for one thing, a first round series where the Jets have home ice and which should be a win because I think they match up well against Minnesota, Dallas or Colorado and then a second round where the limits of my heart being able to function properly will be severely tested.
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