Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets can't stand pat with their defence

  • Print

It's Season No. 2 for the new Winnipeg Jets as the city's relatively limited sourness over the lockout fades into memory and the honeymoon resumes.

Finally, the season opener is near and fans are anxious to know where their team is headed after pulling up 11th in the NHL's Eastern Conference first time around.

To better places, they certainly hope. But how much better?

Depends where their chemistry takes them, some say.

Can Ondrej Pavelec be more of a difference, many ask?

Will the team's road record improve?

Will Evander Kane shuffle aside all the distractions and remain on the upward production curve?

Is Olli Jokinen just the centrepiece the team was lacking?

Can 19-year-old Mark Scheifele make the jump?

All good questions, but none of them will be relevant without the central improvement the Jets must have.

Their goals-against total in 2011-12, all 246 of them, was in the NHL's bottom five.

If many or all of the above questions were answered in the positive and the 2013 goals-against number stays the same, there is no realistic path for the Jets to the playoffs.

What level of improvement is required?

That's a little more difficult to say.

A quarter of a goal per game, down to 2.75, would be a good start. In an 82-game season, though, that's just down to 226. It's still a crapshoot on the playoffs from there but that average wouldn't hurt the cause.

If you take the 2011-12 numbers, you can make a pretty certain judgment.

An improvement to 2.50 -- a half a goal per game -- would almost guarantee a spot in the bid for the Stanley Cup. Last season, all 10 teams who made that grade made the post-season.

There's a hesitation to sell the Jets short before they even start, but that number doesn't seem realistic in Winnipeg. There's nowhere to hide in a shortened 48-game season. Teams rarely change their stripes overnight and in the case of one that hasn't made drastic personnel adjustments or a coaching change, it seems unlikely.

Further, the Jets are less on defence to start the campaign, with Zach Bogosian sidelined for several weeks, and relatively inexperienced personnel on the depth chart from No. 5 down.

Centre Jim Slater, who gets plenty of responsibility on the defensive side of things, doesn't see this as a six- or eight- or even 10-man job.

"Every line has to be defensively responsible," he said. "There are teams that have better skill than us and they're going to score more. So if we want to take it to the next level and get into the playoffs, we definitely have to cut down the amount of chances we give to a team."

So embrace your fascination with peanut butter and jam, burgers and fries or chips and dip or however you want to view line combinations.

How the defence fits together is decidedly more like Bran Flakes and skim milk. You know, the stuff that might not taste great but is good for you, the combo that makes you healthy.

The breakfast of playoff teams.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

more nhl coverage d2-3

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2013 D1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling prepares to eat dandelions on King Edward St Thursday morning-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 17- bonus - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What should the city do with the 102-year-old Arlington Street bridge?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google