© Chuck Duboff
Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Bryan Little, Toby Enstrom, Mark Stuart; the old guard who came to Winnipeg from Atlanta. They have been the de facto leadership group for the past 5 and 1/2 years. I dare suggest that not many people work harder or demonstrate more leadership than Blake Wheeler. The man knows only one way to play the game, with intensity, passion and heart. He was the right choice to be the Jets second captain.
Something struck me however during these past two games against Vancouver.
During Tuesday’s game against the Canucks, Wheeler was the only Jets player to bend the twine; yet it didn’t seem to matter, as the Jets slogged their way to a disappointing 4-1 loss.
During the first 39 minutes of last night’s game, it looked like the Jets were repeating Tuesday’s performance. With less than a minute left in the second period, it looked like the young guys decided it was time to take over. Trouba hit Scheifele with a great pass; 55 then passed it to Ehlers who made a beautiful pass to Laine…and number 19 was in the net. Those were four 1st round picks who created that goal. Then in the third period, once again it was Ehlers on a spectacular Hedberg type goal; he followed that up with another goal on a sweet pass by another young gun, Nic Petan.
When the Jets are at their best, the young guys are flying. Trouba and Morrisey on defence are both former first round picks and the future of our D; up front, Laine, Ehlers, Scheif, Lowrey, Armia, Petan are forming the nucleus of this team.
I’m in no way throwing in the towel for the Wheelers, Buffs, Littles and Enstroms of this team; I am simply suggesting that no longer will we be counting on them to drive this team. Watching the kids take over last night, you can see the torch being passed on to the youth of this team.