It occurred to me today that the Jets are kind of like a person’s first time at sea. There’s a four foot swell and the boat is pitching and rolling beneath your feet. You get up, stagger, stop to right yourself, stagger again and then make it to the rail to puke your guts out. You repeat the process until you get what’s known as your sea legs. Some people never get their sea legs and simply must live with the fact that boats aren’t for them, let’s hope that’s not the case for our Jets. Luckily I don’t think it is.
Over the last week the Jets have definitely shown signs of the stagger and puke, losing to Ottawa in a dismally embarrassing performance that saw Pavalec hung out to dry more than a summertime beach towel at the lake. The defence still looks dismal, special team’s need a lot of work and giveaways are par for the course. With all that there are reasons to believe the the Jets may be getting their legs.
The Jets ran head on into a white hot (stupid oughta be kicked out of the NHL) Leafs team and proceeded to hand them a two goal deficit after two periods. Unfortunately the stagger crept back into their game and the Jets had to settle for a heart breaking shootout loss. Again turnovers and defensive zone breakdowns where the story. Unfortunately the stagger again turned into a trip to the rail as the next game was the debacle in Ottawa. Was the Toronto game a flukey anomaly against an overachieving Leafs team?
During the opening minutes of the next game against Carolina it certainly appeared to be the case, as the Jets where in disarray and reeling to an ordinary looking Carolina crew. Then came a massive dose of Gravol, as the usually emotionless bench boss Noel became indignant. He launched into a fiery tirade at players on the bench that woke them up and provided one of the better performances of the season in front of the home crowd faithful. Will this be the beginning of something better?
I think so, here’s why. Besides the fact that I’m a massive Jets homer I have noticed one interesting aspect to the Jets game; more often than not, they score first. Also with the exception of one game, they score often. So what does this tell us? It tells us if they could string together even a semblance of defensive responsibility, they would most likely win more games than they lose.
At the beginning of the season most of us for some reason thought we were in for a whiz bang defence with an anaemic offense. The season started and has since proved the opposite. With Burmistov emerging as a bonnafide superstar scoring machine, Buff blasting pucks from the blue line and the GST line pitching in for the odd helper, scoring hasn’t been the issue. The issue has been the defensive liability that is Johnny Oduya and to a lesser extent Byfuglien, who lacks the quickness to scramble back after playing rover. To make matters worse Bagosian has decided he’s going to play the gambler on the blue line, when he knows neither when to hold em nor when to fold em. The result is turnovers, and turnovers in the NHL equate to goals against, plain and simple.
As a fan I’m hoping either someone can crack the whip and make these guys play some defence, or if need be move some personnel out for a stay at home shutdown guy that can hold the fort. There are playoff teams in this league that make their bread and butter on 2.5 goals for, because they can keep the puck out of their own net. If the Jets want to be a playoff team they need to follow suit. I’m really hoping the Jets find their sea legs and start to defend their zone. Otherwise it’s going to be a long season of trips to the rail.