The Winnipeg Jets lose to the Islanders

$10 popcorn – check

$8 beverage – check

Billy Mumphrey levels of unbridled enthusiasm – check

I will forever contend that live hockey is the best fan experience money can buy. Coming into Saturday’s game against the Islanders, the Winnipeg Jets were riding high. 6-0-2 in their last 8. Needless to say, I was excited to have a prime seat for Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada.

The hockey didn’t disappoint, but the results did. The Jets fell 2-0 to the better coached, and more consistent New York Islanders. The Iles play a tight, boring brand of hockey, but it is effective. After drubbing the ineffectual Blackhawks (no offence to our friends at Chicago Tomahawk), Jets fans were lulled into a false sense of security.

First the positives: Holy Schmidt, Nate Schmidt has been terrific.  Copp, Connor and PLD continue to excel, and generally our top 3 lines have played well. Our puck possession advanced stats have been better than last year as well. Bonus: Svechnikov is the real deal. He gets after it in a way that I dare postulate is a bit “Perreaullt-esque”.

Now the negatives: Dillon and Pionk are still finding their grove, but they’re not Stella yet. And while I love Dillon’s toughness – he has struggled. We are chronic (not the good kind) offenders of weak break outs and sloppy neutral zone play. We still rely heavily on elite goal scoring and excellent goaltending (Comrie!).

It was a good wakeup call that there is still work to be done. We are a good team (bordering on very good), but not yet great. And that’s OK. It was always going to take some time for our defensive pairings to gel.

Or, I’m a cockeyed optimist – like Billy Mumphrey, and that will be my downfall.


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