Half way home to the playoffs: 1st in the Central & 3rd in the NHL; so what do we know about our Jets? by Chuck Duboff

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© Chuck Duboff

  • Getting major league goaltending from Conner Hellebucyk puts us in a position to win every game; I would ride Hellebucyk until he says he needs a break.  Many great goalies have played 60-70 games in a season.  Probably the biggest factor in the Jets being where they are in the standings.Connor-Hellebuyck
  • Having a coach, Todd Woodcroft, dedicated to face offs is paying huge dividends for the Jets; currently we sit in first place in the NHL at over 53% of face offs won.  Woodcroft analyzes video of upcoming teams and works diligently on face offs with our centres.
  • The Jets are at a point where we don’t need to put Big Buff out for the last three minutes of a tight game; against Buffalo last night, Myers, Kulikov, Morrissey and Trouba did a great job of keeping the puck to the perimeter and not allowing Buffalo any quality shots.JM.jpg
  • Blake Wheeler just seems to be getting better with age; a dynamic player and tremendous leader of men!!  He is making a very strong case to continue playing centre when Scheifele returns from injury.  Watching Wheels’ work ethic is rubbing off on his two very young line mates, Kyle Conner and Patrik Laine.  The discussion should be started to consider Wheels for the Hart Trophy!!
  • Adam Lowry has become an invaluable member of the Jets team.  He is centring a very important line on the Jets, one which bangs and gets valuable ice team in the opposing teams zone.  Filling in for Scheif, he is parking himself in front of the net on the power play and making it difficult for goalies to see around him.  Then there is the penalty killing…outstanding!!  I’m sure a lot of his talent, skill and hockey IQ came from growing up in NHL locker rooms with his dad Dave Lowry.Lowry
  • I continue to be so impressed with Dmitri Kulikov…once again Chevy and his scouts find a hidden gem, a former first rounder!!  Like Matty Perrault and Matt Hendricks, the Jets don’t make huge splashes on free agents, but rather go under the radar and do a great job of finding players who fill a need.
  • It says something about how well the Jets are playing, that when Scheifele in out for an extended period of time and Laine and Ehlers haven’t scored in a while…we just keep on winning.  There is so much offence on this team, that we are able to survive not getting contributions from our superstars.
  • Jacob Trouba is playing really good hockey.  It seems like the more ice time he gets and the more faith the coaches show in him , the better he is playing.  It would be tremendous to get him signed to a long term deal, to continue to build the foundation of a championship team.
  • It seems like whenever Matt Hendricks is on the ice, something good happens; he kills a penalty, throws a solid body check, chips in with another assist; I knew nothing about him, but what he has added to this team can’t be quantified in numbers…when you listen to the rest of the players on the team talk about him, you realize how important he is to the success of the Jets…and I’d say a big reason why the Edmonton Oilers are struggling!!matt-hendricks-1040x572
  • January 6th and the Jets have played 42 games; they are sitting at 24 wins, 11 losses and 7 overtime points for a total of 55 points.   That puts them in first place in the Central Division and 3rd place over all in the NHL.  Projected out over 82 games,  that would put the Jets at somewhere between 105 and 110 points  at the end of the season.  That would put them in an excellent position to not only make the playoffs, but gain home ice advantage for a few rounds.
  • What do we know?  Our co-Jets blogger, Geoff Brookes, nailed it last summer when we were having our weekly coffee and Jets analysis.  We were sitting outside on a patio at Original Joes and were looking at the Jets upcoming season, both very excited.  Geoff made two bold predictions, one of which is looking very good…he prognosticated that the Jets would get 106 points this season and that sure is looking good this morning.  His other bold prediction was that the Jets would win the Stanley Cup this year…as I said to Geoff last night at the Buffalo game…if that were to happen, you could put me six feet under…because it’ll never get any better than that.  Well done my friend.  (For those who didn’t hear, the boys on TSN 1290 acknowledged and heaped praise on Geoff’s bold points prediction.
  • The Jets are enjoying tremendous success at home this season with a record of 15 wins, only 3 losses and 1 tie.  Despite a rather quiet Bell MTS Place last night, the team and the Jets fans feed off of each other.  If the Jets can get through January sitting in the upper tier of the Central…February is kind to the Jets with a HUGE 10 game homestand…that’s right, 10 straight game at home!!  That may be a chance for the Jets to rack up points and pull away in their division.  In fact, March offers the same kind of friendly home schedule.  You know the excitement in the city will continue to build with each Jets win!!Jets fans 1
  • What do we know:  Winnipeg jets fans are so creative.  Last night’s “Best Trade Ever” chant started in the upper bowl last night was Classic!!  Check out these classic Jets fans chants from years gone by:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iBR3mqSkTM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOoXNa_SUxc
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