While there are plenty of teams fighting for their playoff lives, more and more franchises will be tempted to rest players once it’s clear that their place in (or out of) the postseason is cemented. The Winnipeg Jets made some waves in that regard on Saturday.
Despite telling The Canadian Press that he intends to put a competitive Jets team on the ice going forward (out of respect to the league’s playoff races), the interim head coach made a “coach’s decision” to sit Evander Kane as a healthy scratch.
The Jets’ opponents are the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team whose playoff hopes climb and dive with each win and loss.
Again, Maurice’s comments seem to contradict this lineup choice.
“We’ve all been through it before,” Maurice said. “I think whenever possible you put your best lineup in there.
“They deserve it: The Toronto Maple Leafs deserve it, and so do the other teams in that fight.”
NHL.com’s Patrick Williams vented about the situation on Twitter, to give you an idea of some of the reactions:
Whether observers find themselves livid with the decision or just-plain-indifferent, the bottom line is that the Jets will face the Leafs without Kane, one of the league’s rising power forwards. Perhaps people will look at this as a memorable decision if Toronto squeezes into the playoffs.