Here we go! 13 of the next 15 games are at home and if the Jets have any notion of being a playoff team this is the time and place to set up. As it stands right now the Jets are sitting in 13th place in the east but only 3 points out of 8th. With this mega homestand the Jets have a chance to move up the standings and fully enter the playoff hunt.
So the questions have to be asked. Can this team do it? Do they have the talent to be a playoff team? Can they fix the problems they’ve had so far this season?
Lets look at each question and see if we can come up with some answers.
CAN THEY DO IT?
Yes. I believe that this team can put together enough wins to make a legit run at the playoffs. At the start of the season I predicted a 7th place finish and am still sticking with that. Teams ahead of them will start to falter. Loo at what happened to the Thrashers last season. It looked they were going to be a lock for the playoffs then they fell apart in the 2nd half of the season and well the rest is history. If I were to pick a team to collapse it would have to be the Leafs followed by The Panthers. Both of these teams have been playing way above their heads and are bound to fall to earth. Toronto always starts off strong yet in the end they are always the team we know they are, over payed and underachieving. Injuries are starting to pile up and pretty soon the team will collapse under the pressure and scrutiny of the Toronto media.
DO THE JETS HAVE THE TALENT?
I think so. Personally I’d like to see them make some moves. Wheeler has been a disappointment and should be traded while he still has a little value left. Once our depleted D gets back to full strength I would also look at getting rid of Oduya. He has been a liability all season and with the likes of Flood and Kulda showing they have what it takes to play D in the NHL, Oduya could be moved. I also think if a good enough offer comes for Big Buff you need to seriously consider it. Sure his game has improved over the past couple weeks but so far this season he has hurt us more than he has helped.
The Jets are starting to get some production from the guys who were expected to carry this team. Kane has been on a tear of late and Antropov has really been one of the nicest surprises so far. Add in a renewed focus on his D game by Bogosian and the Jets are set up quite nicely for a run. Once Fehr gets into game shape I think the Jets will be able to score enough to keep up with almost anyone. Then you have a goalie who has been MVP material and the Jets looks like a serious contender.
CAN THE JETS FIX THE PROBLEMS?
I’m not sure. This is a good team but not a great team and their mistakes have a tendency to cost them games. I’m not sure what the root of this is but the Jets cannot hold a lead. They have been up 2 goals numerous times only to see the lead slip away and what looks like a possible win turns into a loss. Sadly this isn’t the biggest of the Jets problems. Winnipeg takes WAY too many penalties and other teams are making them pay for their lack of discipline. We also have an issue with turnovers. Lately it hasn’t been as bad as it was early on and I think that comes from players getting used to a new system but it the Jets slip back into their old ways they could be in trouble.
This team has all the pieces and now with this homestand they have the opportunity to make a run and for only the second time in this franchise’s history punch a ticket to the post season. They will need a little hlep and a little luck but I think that they can have the story book ending that would be icing to an already magical season.
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