The Jets ARE a Playoff Team

| January 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

Winnipeg Jets 2011 JerseysNow you need to be completely honest here. If back in May when we got the Thrashers if I told you that at the all-star break this team would be .500, just 5 points out of a playoff birth and the South East Division lead you’d be pretty happy right?

So then why is everyone so down on these guys? Why are the Sun and the Free Press writing countless articles about how the Jets lack the talent to compete and that they should just give up on this season and build for the future?

Maybe December was an anomaly? This team could have been playing way over their heads and now we are seeing what they are really like. That is a distinct possibility that I won’t discount outright. Maybe this team is as bad as the “experts” like to say.

Or maybe not.

Lets look at a couple things.

INJURIES

Since the start of the season the Jets have been ravaged by injuries. Their top tier players seem to be out at different times and that has really taken a toll on the team. First Enstrom was out, then LIttle, then Big Buff, Wheeler and Bogosian. Just last week Evander Kane got knocked out of the lineup and the timetable on his return is uncertain.

If you took players of the same caliber out of any team’s lineup they would begin to struggle. The media likes to say its a lack of depth but you can’t just easily pull up another Big Buff or Evander Kane form the minors. Even teams flush with depth would have trouble replacing those guys.

Also you throw in a guy like Eric Fehr who was brought in to score goals. In the off season he had his shoulder operated on and has not played well since he returned. I think its safe to say the guy is still hurt and probably was rushed back a little too soon. So even the guys who were brought in for depth are getting hurt. Any team out there would be having problems.

THE MEDIA

Forget New York or Chicago I think that Winnipeg probably has the toughest and most fickle media in all of sport. One day they will be calling for the Coach to win the Jack Adams award the next they will be saying that he has lost control of his team. Later in the week they will laud how well a player is doing only to come back and print nasty rumors about him on the internet.

I think its fair to say that the media doesn’t care for Evander Kane. This is a guy that is only 20 years old and could easily be the future of the franchise. Yet the media has gone out of its way to attack and malign the kid. Has he been perfect? Probably not but lets give him a break. Publishing internet rumors is classless and trying to form a wedge between he and the organization is just plain sad.

The media turned on Kane the second that he said he was going to wear #9. Reportedly Bobby Hull wasn’t too happy about someone wearing his number. The Golden Jet still has a lot of friends in the media. I’ll let you put two and two together.

My point is that the media hasn’t helped this team. one minute they are cheerleading the next they are calling them talentless. The guys on the team see this and it effects them. They say it doesn’t but these guys are human like the rest of us.

THE LAST 32 GAMES

The Jets have 16 games at home and 16 games on the road left. They will need to win probably 12 of the 16 at home and 10 of sixteen on the road if they want to have a chance at playing in the post season. Will it be tough? yes. Is it possible. Hell yes.

First thing is they need to get and stay healthy. If this team has all of its pieces back they will be hard to beat. Hopefully after the All-Star break the jets have a complete roster to work with.

Secondly Chevy needs to get them some help scoring goals. The best part of all of the injuries is that we have built a lot of depth on the D. If I were a betting man I would say that Chevy will be looking to unload a veteren D for a guy who can put the puck in the net. The most likely candidate is Johnny Oduya who will be a UFA at the end of the season.

Oduya struggled with turnovers at the beginning of the year but has seemed to settle in nicely. I am sure there are a few teams that would like to have a seasoned D man since that what most teams shop for this time of the year. The Jets don’t need to mortgage the future to improve the team. With the advent of Mark Flood the Jets now have the luxury of moving a D and since Oduya’s contract will be coming up he makes the most logical choice.

Listen its going to be tough for these guys to do this. They are going to need a lot of breaks to go their way and there is no room for error but they’ve got a chance to make the playoffs and if I told you that a year ago you’d think I was nuts.

Go Jets Go!

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