As I watched the Winnipeg Jets versus the Minnesota Wild, it occurred to me that the quality of hockey was sub-par at best, stench-worthy at worse. It was one of the most boring hockey games I’ve watched in a long time.
What do I mean by boring? Other than lack of scoring, it was all stick play. There was no mid-ice movement; everything was cluttered; no pucks to the net; just nothing.
It was boring.
And more often than not, this has become the NHL. The players are bigger and faster, especially the goaltenders. The ice is the same size.
It is boring.
Before you start throwing vegetables and other things which people who read these posts do (“This article is shit”, said Laurie Einarson Burbine on November 21 at 3:16pm in the afternoon, apparently from work), think about this:
Is the hockey we are watching now better than it was a decade ago? Two decades ago? In the 70s? I am not sure of the answer. I love the hockey, but I do find many of the games are just so… lackluster. Just nothing. Is that new? Or is that just how it goes in an 82-game season?
I’m not opining here. I’m asking your unfettered, but respectful, opinion.
This game tonight was a downer, not just because the Winnipeg Jets lost, but because there was nothing but stick play. An ugly, ugly game.
For the Jets, this is four in a row in the tank: a chance to improve against a team that had four in hand, and they barely showed up to play. Sixteen shots on goal. Twelve two games ago. This isn’t hockey.
I’ll say it now, and no one will like this, but I think we need a Bruce Boudreau-type as coach. I think the Maurice days are drawing to a close in Winnipeg. That statement will get a lot of hate. EVERYONE loves Maurice. A players’ coach. Respectful. Introspective. But winning coaches aren’t players’ coaches. They are winning coaches.
Understand this: hockey is a multi-billion dollar business. The business doesn’t care how fans feel. It cares how players perform. Win, that’s all. That’s it. Nothing more. That’s what makes money. Unless you are the Leafs. Anything makes you money.
I was going to save this for a future piece, but here is my view from here. By the time the Jets make the deep playoffs and a serious run for the Cup, here is the status of today’s players. Of 29 players on the roster, 18 won’t be on the team by then. Some of the notables? Number One: Blake Wheeler. We all love Blake. But he is trade bait and isn’t producing. He is under contact until 18-19 at $5.8 million a year, but I expect he will be the second captain to be traded out. A current -1 +/-, he is working hard as he always has, but isn’t producing. He may come around, but this is his MO throughout his career. He has big lulls. Love him. But not at $5.8M and a -1.
Dano will be part of a trade. He’s done well here and was a nice piece of the Chicago trade. Which is why he will be part of a trade and perhaps a Vegas Knight next fall. I love Burmi, but they won’t keep him at his cap hit. Little is going into free agency. The Jets won’t keep him. They’ve gone youth. Perreault is great, but his price is high for what he provides. Love the guy. I’d keep him, I’ve loved him since DC. But my business side says no. Petan is good, but I don’t know if he is good enough. I think he may get eclipsed by someone to come. I could be wrong on this one. Drew Stafford? Good guy. Good effort. Gone. Thornburn? This is his end run. He is touring his final arenas. Also love the guy. Chariot? Not good enough. Enstrom? I think he will take a walk in free agency. Postma? Not NHL quality. Stuart? Great, gritty player. But he’s gone this year. Hutch? He is gone and people don’t even know it.
That’s how I see it. I could be wrong on many of these, but that’s how it sits. To be fair, the Jets have guys in the wings to replace, and some of these guys will be trade bait for other, better players. So this is not a negative tilt. It is what it will take Winnipeg to get to the next level.
This team doesn’t need more time. It needs better players, and, by the time they tally for a Stanley Cup, a better coach. I know. That hurts. This is hockey.
|Chase De Leo||NOT EVEN HERE|
|Mark Scheifele (A)|
|Blake Wheeler (C)||GONE|
|Dustin Byfuglien (A)|
|Tyler Myers *|