This is part two of the series, in part one, I reviewed Ezra’s five reasons the Jets would make the playoffs.
On the Illegal Curve Hockey Show, each week several predictions are made. To be honest, most of them are not followed up on, but Richard and Ezra’s preseason predictions were posted on the website and talked about almost weekly on the show.
Fans of the show will know that Ezra predicted that the Jets would make the playoffs this season, and gave his five reasons. Richard provided the counter argument and said that they would not make the playoffs and gave his five reasons.
The two went back and forth all season; in this post I’ll review Richard’s reasons why the Jets would not make the playoffs. Check out the original article and comments.
While there were times during the season that the Jets looked like a playoff team, Richard stuck to his guns and said they would not make the playoffs.
Here are his five reasons:
There are at least 11 teams in the Eastern Conference that are better than the Jets on paper
This is the all encompassing reason, the Jets aren’t good enough to make the playoffs. While this may seem like a cop out reason, it was true. The Jets lacked the scoring depth to compete with the top teams in the East. Blake Wheeler lead the way with 64 points, 43rd highest in the league. Winnipeg was a middle of the pack team, 14th in the league in goals for, and 20th in goal differential.
Richard’s prediction was that the Jets would finish between 10th and 13th in the East. Not a bold prediction, but a realistic one. The Jets finished 11th in the East with 84 points.
The Travel Schedule
Richard stated that the travel schedule for the Jets was more than their division rivals. They had a seven game road trip to start the season, followed by four, six, and four game road trips.
Taking a look at how the Jets performed on said road trips.
a) Late October to Early November: The team has a seven-game road trip through the Southeast and Northeast. This includes one game on the second of back-to-back nights; 3-2-2 – eight of a possible fourteen points.
b) Early January: The team has a four-game road trip through the Northeast. This includes one game on the second of back-to-back nights. 1-3-0 – two of a possible eight points.
c) End of January to early February: The team has a six-game road trip through the Southeast and Northeast, yet again. This includes two games on the second of back-to-back nights; 2-4-0 – four of a possible twelve points.
d) End of March to early April: The team has a four-game road trip through the Southeast and a trip through Long Island on the way home. This includes one game on the second of back-to-back nights. 2-1-1 – five of a possible eight points.
On these four major road trips, the Jets were 8-10-3, 19 of a possible 42 points.
Third New Coach in Three Years
This reason is difficult to quantify with numbers. However, it is fair to say that there was an adjustment period at the beginning of the year. Moving to a new city, becoming acclimated with a new organization and their expectations requires some getting used to. From looking at the first ten games, Coach Noel was beginning to learn about his players and what types of situations they would work in.
As Richard said, ” It will take him time to get his message across and will likely take time for many players to learn the personality and tactics of their third coach in three years.”
This time doesn’t happen in one season, but the Jets are on the right track and primed to take a step forward next season.
Lack of Goal Scoring
The team scored a total of 225 goals, fourteenth highest in the league. One player, Evander Kane scored 30 goals, and only two (Ladd, Little) were in the twenties.
Before the season, Richard stated this “There is a realistic chance that no player on this team cracks 30 goals this season. If that is the case, then a whole heck of a lot of players are going to have to produce above 20 goals to make this team a viable contender.”
The White Out Only Means So Much
Home record: 23-13-5
Road record: 14-22-5
If only they played all of their games at home.
These reasons were more realistic, all of them came down to, “this team doesn’t have the talent to make the playoffs”. In the end, they fell short. Richard is the winner over Ezzy.