The Boring Identity

What is the Winnipeg Jets Identity? –

We were treated to a fast paced goal filled gala from our Jets to kick off the season and all was right with the world for Jets fans!

Next, we headed over to California to face two powerhouses in the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, followed by the start of a five game home stand against the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames.  Don’t think I need to go into great detail as to how those games went for us….  Safe to say that Boring Identity reared its ugly head again.

The Boring Identity

We always want the best from our team but let’s face facts.  The Sharks and the Kings are just simply better teams than the Jets.

After an eternity, or five days in the real world, we had the opportunity to face off against the Nashville Predators.  The Preds, who were suppose to be battling in the basement of the Central Division with us, were scripted to be a good measuring stick for our Jets.  Despite a good performance by Pavelec, Nashville now has seven of a possible eight points after grounding our Jets and now sit a top the division.

Guess the Jets didn’t measure up, eh?

After a just few games, including last nights loss to the Flames, it is becoming apparent that our beloved Jets are struggling to find the back of the net and more importantly their Identity.

What do other teams think when they play the Winnipeg Jets?  Here is what we know for sure.

We have speed.  Crucial in today’s NHL, the Jets certainly don’t have an issue flying up and down the ice.  This team is very fast!  Is that enough to win night in, night out?  Clearly, not thus far.

We have grit.  There is no doubt we have players not only with size but there is no shortage of guys who aren’t afraid to be physical both up front and on the back-end.  Unfortunately, being physical alone isn’t enough nowadays.

Skill and chemistry are what this team is lacking most.  They generate some good chances at times but have trouble finishing.  Sloppy passes and poor puck decisions are problematic for this team in all zones.  Simply, they need to find a way to get the puck out of our end better, hold on to it in the other and finish!

One bright spot thus far is the play of Mark Scheifele.  This kid has the skill that I’m referring to.  He makes things happen almost every time he has the puck on his stick in the offensive zone.  Problem is, he’s one guy and cannot do it all on his own.

October 19, 2014-Jets-Flames-01

                          Mark Scheifele has been a bright spot so far this season!                         photo by Shawn Coates

With the loss of Evander Kane early on, the dynamic of this team changed drastically.  Not only are the Jets missing his speed and skill, but now are forced to juggle lines taking precious time away to develop chemistry across the top nine. The “to be” top line of Wheeler, Scheifele and Kane, which was looking pretty good from what we’ve seen thus far, now has to hold off on its progression until Kane can make his way back into the line up.  We are easier to defend against when “The Natural” isn’t on the ice.

Identity Crisis

Paul Maurice is trying to implement an aggressive forecheck while maintaining sound defensive play.  A system that could fit well for a team with speed and size like the Jets.  I’m all for being that high-flying team that forces you to make plays against and banking on your mistakes under pressure.  However, if we can’t make anything happen with the puck once we force you to turn it over, it will be all for none.  Without the skill or chemistry to confidently move the puck from our own end, we are far too often that team which gets hemmed in our defensive zone.  

Bottom line, we have some threats but overall we are not a dangerous team to play.  Good teams in the NHL all have a clear-cut identity.

The Chicago Blackhawks have the speed and skill to make teams suffer for every mistake made.

L.A. with that Sutter style hockey just keep coming at you wave after wave and grind you down forcing you to turn the puck over.

Montreal is fast, skilled and with their excellent transition game and goaltending are a formidable opponent for any team.

Even Bob Hartley in Calgary has established a clear identity.  We had the opportunity to witness it first hand last night.  They may not wow you with skill, but by design, they will not be out worked by any opponent.  

The Jets need to get away from their “Boring Identity” and work towards solidifying one that other teams will not brush off so easily.  Hopefully something Coach PoMo can achieve otherwise, we will continue to be the mediocre Winnipeg Jets.

Go Jets Go!

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Comments

  1. Well said ..nothing more to add its been said i think your right on

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