Last week I used the analogy of a team trying to get their sea legs. I lamented the fact that they were still getting their bearings and as always I harped on defence, or more accurately the lack there of. This week I’m the one that needs to find his seal legs, as the Jets have shown me more split personalities than most of my ex girlfriends. It’s been a wild ride this week and the ups and downs have for once left me without even a clue as to what’s about to happen next . The only thing I can take away from this week is that they may not win, but they’re always entertaining.
The week started with me writing a lengthy blog about how the Jets usually find a way to score first and always manage to put up some goals. So of course they have a game that same day where they score only once, and not first. I really should have sensed that irony was about to bitch slap me as I was writing about the Jest scoring goals but hind sight is 20/20. The Jets rolled into the Tortorella media sideshow fresh off a gut check win at home against Carolina. As a fan I was at the euphoric stage of the Jets fan manic/ depressive cycle and hoping for a good defensive outing to keep me “up” as we were about to swing through Philly and Tampa on the road. I sensed there could be trouble for the Jets facing these two formidable eastern teams and New York seemed like the weak sister amongst the upcoming games.
Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes and this was one of those games that should have been notched up as a win for the Jets. They outplayed the rangers bombarding them with shots and putting on a passing clinic midway through the third. Unfortunately two own goals off defenders skates proved to be the difference and the Rangers stole a road win away from what appeared to be a hungrier Jets team. Off course as we all know now, the best was yet to come.
The Jets landed in Philly and one could sense trouble. The young team had been handed an unfair loss from Rangers and where now going to face Jagr and crew. What happened next will go down in hockey legend as probably one of the worst played games defensively by two teams in history. This game challenged all the conventional wisdom. Usually when you’re up five to one at the NHL level, that’s it, you’ve won, turn off the TV. Even at six to two, you pretty much have it in the bag, and that was the wonderful world of the Jets in the second period. All they had to do was clog up the neutral zone, play all the guys back and get a little bit of goal tending to run out the clock. Unfortunately this is the Jets and that seems to be a tall order. What happened next were five unanswered goals by the Flyers to put them up seven to six. After that it was pure pond hockey, they might as well have just pulled both goalies and turned the nets to face the boards. I think I actually heard one of the refs yell out “Last goal wins”. Each side traded goals, with Ladd ending up with the winner, and an unbelievable score of nine to eight. It was a train wreck of a game and many where even hesitant to call it a win as the defensive play on both sides was off the charts abysmal. There is however one very positive thing to take away; the Jets never gave up. It would have been very easy after five unanswered goals to simply stop trying, to write it off and call it a night. But they didn’t. Even as the game seesawed back and forth in the third there was always a determination to gut it out. That’s one of the flashes of brilliance that keeps me interested as a fan and gives me hope going forward. The game of course also validated my blog about scoring; Irony it seems is a fickle mistress.
Now I was less worried going into the game with Tampa. The Jets had faced Philly and came out on top in a barn burner. The massive defensive break down in the second period aside they again gutted out a win. The Jets came to play against Tampa and took it to them with an energy I had not seen yet in previous games. The game however became a goalie duel. Pavelec was very good, making a host of amazing saves, but unfortunately on this night rolie the goalie was better. Rollason seemed to break every jets wave that came at him and played a perfect game. Pavelec did much the same but yielded on a mental error, allowing one of the games most prolific goal scorers to get a sharp angle shot through for the win. It was another one of those games where you felt the Jets should have won but didn't.
OK now let’s take a quick break from your regularly scheduled Blog for me to bitch out the coach. Burmistov was benched during the third period for five minutes. Sorry Noel, that doesn’t compute man. The team is down by one goal and struggling to put one past a hot goalie. You don’t bench your leading scorer no matter what he’s done to piss you off. If they have him figured out from tape, it’s your job to coach him through it. Not bench him and hope he’ll figure it out.
So when does this crazy train start to get on the tracks? I’m hoping soon. We’ve started to see the defence come around and a real work ethic set in. There have been two games now where bad luck or hot goalies have handed us a loss, and we’ve seen some of the best teams in our division. The question is when can we start to see some consistency? I myself would settle for a little less entertainment and a few more wins.