The new Winnipeg Jets are in their third season, but they haven’t participated in a playoff game since relocation. Maybe that will change this season, but they’ve been stuck in the mud with a 4-5-0 record.
On Monday, Jets coach Claude Noel lamented that he doesn’t “have enough players to sit everybody.” However, if things don’t turn around, it could be him out of a job.
Although he’s not expected to directly talk about his job security, Noel might have addressed the issue in a roundabout way yesterday.
“My job is to get the best out of our team and our players,” Noel told the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s very clear. That’s my job and if I don’t do that, there’s consequences. I clearly understand those things.”
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff expressed faith in the team’s existing core when he spent $93 million re-signing Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little, and Blake Wheeler over the summer. They all got some form of a no-trade clause, as does Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, and Andrew Ladd, which is another trio inked in to long-term contracts.
With many of the keys players locked up, it seems fair to believe that the Jets’ management thinks their existing squad is capable of making the playoffs, even if that’s not the direction they’re headed in so far.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: