Saturday, April 28, 2018
They are the last team in Canada, the last hope of this season to break a 25-year drought that has seen Lord Stanley reside south of the border.
While this may be a great source of pride for many Manitoba residents, the Winnipeg Jets say they feel no additional pressure, or spend a lot of time thinking about it.
It's a business as usual, albeit with a whole nation of hockey fans watching to see if they will finally be the team.
The Canadians of Montreal were the last Canadian club to drink from the Cup in 1993. While other franchises have come close, they ultimately fell short.
Jets captain Blake Wheeler said it has not been a topic of discussion in the room, even if the Jets train may have some passengers out of town these days.
"I play for Winnipeg," he said.
"Mostly just recovery, I was exhausted after the last series, so I just tried to rest a bit, no problems or worries, it's nice to play again," said Laine, who scored two goals and added two assists in the first round against Minnesota. Wild.
"That's been our plan for the whole week, it does not matter if I'll take a couple of days off, I'm still going to play, I just try to be ready to play every day, nothing has changed." he said.
Laine predicted that her best hockey is yet to come, while admitting that challenges become more difficult as you progress through the playoffs.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
It was in the minutes after the Winnipeg Jets had eliminated the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when I came across Jets chairman Mark Chipman.
There was still bedlam in the stands, fans celebrating a victory that was a long time coming in Winnipeg, and, to a lesser extent, bedlam in the press box, as reporters rushed to do their post-game thing.
“It’s a start,” I casually said to Chipman, over the din of the crowd.
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s a start.”
The analogy may sound a little corny, but this moment, this series, feels a bit like a passage, of sorts. A coming of age. Like a person moving into adulthood.
This franchise didn’t even have a personality when Chipman adopted it down in Atlanta and brought it home, to hockey country.
How they got here. Colorado's brave avalanche gave the Nashville predators the best they could in the first round for a surprisingly entertaining series. The Predators prevailed in six games, but some warts were exposed, especially the propensity to allow a late goal.
The Winnipeg Jets, meanwhile, won the franchise's first postseason series since April 1987, when all but four players on the Jets' roster were not even born. Another reminder of how long ago it was: "I Knew You Were Waiting (for me)," by Aretha Franklin and George Michael, was number one on the Billboard 100.
The Jets ran into a Minnesota Wild team, but they showed they could win games in any way, with a burst of scoring or tight defensive fighting. Winnipeg won in five games, including two shutouts. This is a true clash of the titans, as the Predators and Jets recorded the two best total points in the NHL this season.
The Predators won the regular season series 3-1-1, beating the Jets 22-20.
First line. Somehow, it does not seem that Filip Forsberg is praised enough for how skilful he is. Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen make a good trio for the Predators, but Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler could be better and more dominant. If we go for regular season totals, the top three of the Predators combined for 179 points in 224 games, while the Jets trio has 208 points in 217 games. Advantage: Jets
Depth. The third line of the Predators, Nick Bonino, Colton Sissons and Austin Watson combined for 19 points against the Avalanche; Sissons and Watson were the team's two best scorers in the series. Eleven forwards picked up at least one point against Colorado. The Jets also have a balanced alignment, but it is being tested for injuries (more on that later). Of course, it's always a tough match when the No. 2-ranked scorer in the league, Patrik Laine, is on the second line. Advantage: predators
Defending. The Predators may have had some defensive lapses against the Avalanche in the first round, but they still have the six best talents in the league (and they showed up in that suffocating deciding factor of Game 6). Against the Wild, the Jets showed that they are not only an offensive team and that they can also win tight games. Dustin Byfuglien exercised a level of physicality in the first round series that should scare anyone. Injuries are a concern, however. Advantage: predators
Special teams The Predators would like to make a replacement in some areas for that first round series, but they will gladly keep the penalty exactly as it was: a suffocating 90 percent efficiency. The Jets were decent with 76.9 percent. The Jets, meanwhile, flexed their dominant power in the first round (23.1 percent efficiency against 15.8 percent for Predators). Advantage: even
Training. Two veteran veterans here, since both bosses have trained more than 1,000 NHL games. Peter Laviolette has won a Stanley Cup and two conference championships. Paul Maurice has 1,447 NHL coaching experience games, but he has an Eastern Conference championship to his credit, and that was 16 years ago with the Carolina Hurricanes. He also has to manage a young roster with many players sailing in his first postseason race. The work is easier for the most successful Laviolette. Advantage: predators
Health. The Jets are injured. Nikolaj Ehlers, Toby Enstrom, Tyler Myers and Mathieu Perreault missed all the games against Wild in the first round. Enstrom will hopefully return soon, while Perreault, a player of underestimated depth, is one to monitor. Defender Dmitry Kulikov has been out since the beginning of March, and backup goalkeeper Steve Mason is also beaten.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Whatever you think about the two best teams in the NHL meeting in the second round, try not to let it get in the way that would necessarily be a slugfest.
"I think you expect the same things you saw in the regular season," said forward Austin Watson. "I just got up a little."
Here are three things you need to know about the series:
Defender Predators Roman Josie talked about the strengths of Winnipeg aircraft and how the two teams begin to develop the battle.
In many ways, Predators and Jets reflect each other. These are icy, fast rotating power structures with a physical edge.
Both teams have elite calibres (Philip Forsberg and Victor Arvidson against Patrick Lyne and Blake Wheeler) and depth in the middle (Ryan Johansen, Kyle Terris and Nick Bonino vs. Mark Sheifel, Paul Stastny and Brian Little).
"These are games with high events," Russian national team coach Paul Maurice told journalists on Monday. "Something happens all the time, they are very physical, they are, of course, very fast. Great economy. Neither team is passive in the way they play. None of the teams retreat and tries to slow the game in terms of what they do with the puck. In these games a lot of action.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
The biggest question related to Winnipeg jets engines in the playoffs was the lack of experience and reaction.
This issue will not disappear for the Round 2 series against Nashville, as the Predators have gone all the way to the Stanley Cup finals a year ago.
However, the playoff neophytes of Winnipeg received a round under their belts against Minnesota.
How much did it cost?
"We will transfer this, and we will help them, as far as we can go to Round 2".
One of those young players, rookie Kyle Connor, says the biggest advantage of having veterinarians with a play-off experience comes after losing the game.
For example, after Game 3 against Minnesota, players such as Dustin Bayfullin and Blake Wheeler helped to calm the children.
"All regrouped, took a deep breath, and we had great leaders who brought us back to the right path," Connor said, recalling their message. "This is one game, and it can not identify you. We learned from our mistakes, and this was shown when we came out very strongly in this next game. "
Adam Lowry says that the most important thing he learned in the first round was about emotional fluctuations.