Five games into the season and the walls are already closing in on the 1-4-0 Winnipeg Jets.
“It’s OK. People can ask (if we’re a bad team),” said captain Andrew Ladd after a 4-1 home loss to Calgary yesterday, per the Winnipeg Free Press.
“That’s part of playing in the market we’re in. We’re going to be under a lot of scrutiny. That’s part of being a pro, blocking that out and sticking together and knowing what we have in here and having confidence in that.”
The players aren’t the only ones under scrutiny. Questions are also being asked of general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. Like, why didn’t he address the goaltending this summer? Ondrej Pavelec’s numbers (1-3-0, .906) are pedestrian once again, the same as they’ve been the past three seasons since the team moved from Atlanta.
Not that Pavelec has been the Jets’ biggest issue in 2014-15. Far from it, actually. After hammering Arizona, 6-2, in the season opener, Winnipeg’s offense has managed just two goals in four games. That’s not Pavelec’s fault.
But Cheveldayoff’s patience with Pavelec is symbolic of his patience with, well, everything. Evander Kane, to give another example, is still a Jet. And unfortunately for the team’s fans, slow and steady isn’t winning the race. Not yet anyway. The Jets are already four points back of a playoff spot. And stuck in the Central Division, which is stuck in the Western Conference, that’s not good.
This isn’t even a team that can say it’s had some bad luck.
“(Our record) is reflective of how we’ve played,” said coach Paul Maurice. “The record is accurate.”
Winnipeg has a winnable game tomorrow at home to Carolina, before home games Friday versus Tampa Bay and Sunday versus Colorado. Anything less than two wins out of those three and the sizable hole they’ve already dug will get even deeper, with a challenging four-game trip to Long Island, New Jersey, Manhattan and Chicago to follow.
Related: Risk Factors: Winnipeg Jets edition