Adam Lowry

Fight: Adam Lowry, extremely brave man, faces Ryan Reaves

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In the absolutely chonky file of “Hockey things I would never, ever do,” fighting Vegas Golden Knights enforcer Ryan Reaves ranks somewhere around blocking a Shea Weber shot.

Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry is known for his two-way play above everything else. That said, he’s drawn the ire of opponents lately with some hard hits. He recently received a two-game suspension for boarding, and wasted little time in showing that he’s not going to ease up on Saturday. Lowry absolutely leveled Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch, drawing something that might be worse than a suspension: he generated the anger of Reaves.

The Golden Knights weren’t exactly being coy about putting Reaves out there strictly to fight Lowry, as Reaves lined up in the faceoff circle. Lowry didn’t back down, either, promptly dropping the gloves and acquitting himself nicely.

According to Hockey Fights, Lowry has now been in 10 fights, now up to three in this calendar year. Reaves represents a mammoth jump in “weight class,” even for a big guy like Lowry, so credit to him for showing immense courage.

Allow me to make this clear: I would absolutely not do the same thing if I was in his skates and gloves.

MORE:
• Pro Hockey Talk’s Stanley Cup picks.
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Jets’ Adam Lowry suspended two games for boarding

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It has been a quiet start to the season for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, but they have now handed out their first suspension of the 2019-20 season.

The DoPS announced on Monday that Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry has been suspended two games for boarding Calgary Flames defender Oliver Kylington. The incident happened at the end of the second period of Saturday’s Heritage Classic game played in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The Jets rallied late to win the game, 2-1, in overtime.

Lowry was given a two-minute for boarding on the play. It initially appeared as if Kylington was significantly injured when he fell to the ice, but he was able to return for the third period.

Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for Lowry’s suspension.

Lowry has emerged as a strong depth player for the Jets over the past couple of years but has been off to a slow start this year with zero points in his first 12 games.

He will miss upcoming games against the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks before being eligible to return to the Jets’ lineup on Nov. 2 when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights, wrapping up a three-game road trip.

Related: Jets rally to take Heritage Classic from Flames

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Jets’ Lowry faces phone hearing for boarding Flames’ Kylington

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As different as outdoor games feel, the danger of NHL hockey still looms large.

We received another reminder of that during the Winnipeg Jets’ eventual 2-1 OT win against the Calgary Flames at Saturday’s Heritage Classic, as Jets forward Adam Lowry received a two-minute boarding minor for a dangerous hit on Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety appears to agree that the check was dangerous, as they’ve announced that Lowry will have a hearing. The Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck provides two key notes: 1) it will be a phone hearing, which would limit a suspension to five games or less, and 2) Lowry, 26, will be considered a repeat offender thanks to a suspension from March.

Lowry told Billeck that he believes the official got the call right as a boarding penalty, while also noting that a lot of things are “borderline.” It should help Lowry’s cause that Kylington was able to return to Saturday’s game after that hit.

It’s been a slow start so far this season for Lowry, who has failed to score a goal or an assist through 12 games. While Lowry’s possession stats have been a little bit down at least relative to his teammates so far in 2019-20, he’s been a very useful player — particularly defensively — for Winnipeg; you can see that in metrics such as this multi-season RAPM chart from Evolving Hockey:

A hearing makes it seem pretty likely that a suspension is coming for Lowry — the hit seemed pretty dubious — but Winnipeg has to hope that it’s far from even that five-game ceiling.

MORE:
• Pro Hockey Talk’s Stanley Cup picks.
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Jets rally to take Heritage Classic from Flames: 3 takeaways

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The Winnipeg Jets needed this one.

They entered Saturday’s Heritage Classic against the Calgary Flames in Regina, Saskatchewan having lost five of their past six games and were less than five minutes away from heading to what would have almost certainly been another frustrating defeat.

But a Josh Morrissey goal with 4:11 to play sent the game to overtime where Bryan Little scored the game-winner to lift the Jets to a 2-1 win.

What stood out about this game? Here are three quick takeaways.

1. This was the result this game deserved. First, the Jets played really well. They ended up finishing the game with a pretty significant edge in shots on goal and were right there with the Flames all night.

There is also the fact that the Flames’ only goal — and for a while it looked like it might have been the only goal in the game — came with a little bit of controversy.

Elias Lindholm put the Flames on the board in the second period only to have the Jets challenge the play because they felt Matthew Tkachuk kept the play alive with a high stick. The play was reviewed and at first glance it looked like it may have been a high-stick, but the NHL determined that it agreed with the on-ice officials ruling that Tkachuk’s stick “was at or below the normal height of his shoulders when he contacted the puck prior to Elias Lindholm’s goal.” (Official wording from the league right there.)

It infuriated Jets coach Paul Maurice and the Jets’ bench, but that was the call.

Here is the play. You be the judge on whether or not that is a high stick on the puck or not.

Fortunately for the Jets they were able to rally and take the two points.

2. Even with the win the Jets’ offense has still cooled off. If the Jets are going to have a chance to compete this season with the current state of their defense they are going to need their forwards and offense to carry a lot of the weight. Lately that has been a struggle. Even with Saturday’s win the Jets have managed just nine goals in their past six games, and have not scored more than two goals in a game in two weeks. It is not a surprise they have lost four of those games. Even in the two games they did win offense has been nearly impossible to come by. Their 1-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers was a shootout win (meaning they scored zero goals in regulation or overtime) and even on Saturday they managed just two goals. It could just be a simple cold streak, or it could still be the result of the undermanned defense not being able to get the puck to the forwards to generate offense. A lot of offense in the NHL starts with your blue line. Either way, two goals (or less) per game is not going to cut it for anyone long-term.

3. Adam Lowry‘s hit on Oliver Kylington was scary. Tough moment at the end of the second period when Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry was penalized for boarding Calgary’s Oliver Kylington with a scary hit from behind into the glass. The way Kylington dropped to the ice and remained down was concerning, but the good news for him and the Flames is that he was able to return to the game. Lowry was given a two-minute minor for boarding. It will no doubt be reviewed for supplemental discipline by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, but they have been fairly quiet so far this season so Lowry may be able to get away with just the penalty.

Jets’ turbulent offseason capped with injuries to Little, Beaulieu

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Few teams come into the very beginning of the 2019-20 season quite as bruised and bewildered as the Winnipeg Jets.

After a tough end to last season that included a Round 1 exit, the Jets absorbed body blows that were more than just flesh wounds during the offseason. They waved goodbye to some key players from rental Kevin Hayes to defensive mainstays including Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers. Things were bumpy, to say the least, with Patrik Laine, from ambivalent comments about his future, not-so-kind comments about linemates such as Bryan Little, and finally a very short-term truce with the team via a two-year deal. There was also uncertainty with Kyle Connor until he signed a lengthy pact. If that wasn’t all enough, Dustin Byfuglien is contemplating retirement, and didn’t exactly give the Jets a ton of notice about what’s either a soul-searching sojourn or the end of a truly unique NHL career.

After all the corny (yet inevitable) “day off” jokes that once followed GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, one couldn’t blame the executive if he felt both relieved and exhausted as the season merely begins.

Unfortunately, the hits kept coming in the final days of an offseason that rarely felt like time off.

The Jets provided two unfortunate bits of injury news on Tuesday, as the team announced that Little is out indefinitely with a concussion, while defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is IR-bound with an upper-body injury that’s expected to sideline him for about four weeks. Both injuries happened during what ended up being a very costly 4-1 preseason win against the Minnesota Wild.

(This Luke Kunin hit injured Little, and Scott Billeck reports for the Winnipeg Sun that head coach Paul Maurice was understandably unhappy about it.)

All of these injuries, free agent losses, and Byfuglien-sized curveballs create some massive craters in the Jets’ lineup, which is troubling since Winnipeg looked so wobbly at times last season, even with the likes of Trouba in the mix. Money Puck’s month-to-month expected goals chart presented their plummeting play in a dramatic way:

Some of those months were without Byfuglien, but again, with Trouba. Taking Ben Chiarot and Beaulieu out of an already troubled group slices up that defense even more.

Meanwhile, the Little injury stacks the deck against Maurice and the Jets, too.

The team shared line rushes that would include Andrew Copp as a second-line center, with Adam Lowry possibly as the 3C.

That doesn’t inspire the highest level of confidence, although maybe this is a time where Maurice should be more willing to experiment. While this would be out of necessity, you never know when you might find different things that work, possibly giving you a Plan B (to Z!) for when matchups become tougher during playoff skirmishes.

What if Jack Roslovic could thrive in a 2C or 3C role? Is it possible that breaking up Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele could benefit the likes of Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers? Considering his traditionally impressive possession stats, would Mathieu Perreault be worth a look at one of those center spots, too?

It’s possible that none of those alignments would be optimal, but you don’t need to look too hard to see that these aren’t the most optimal times for the Jets.

Again, though, sometimes bigger challenges bring out the best in players. In the past, it might have felt like the Jets had a luxurious surplus of talent, maybe allowing some to believe – consciously or subconsciously – that they could “flip the switch” and turn things around, even with red flags waving.

Under the current circumstances, they’re going to depend on not just Scheifele and Wheeler, but also Laine, Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, and Connor Hellebuyck. Without pressure, you can’t get diamonds, and so maybe that thought will serve as the Jets’ silver lining.

Because, frankly, there are some uncomfortable forces bearing down on them as the season begins.

MORE:
• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.