Welcome to Winnipeg Jets Weekly, where you can catch up on the past week of Jets hockey. From hot topics to news and notes, this is where you can find all things Jets related throughout the 2019-20 season.
For the first time in seven weeks, the Jets did not finish their three-game week with a 2-1 record. Things got off to a rocky start this time around but the team managed to salvage the week with a big win on Saturday.
The Jets were no match for the fast-flying Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday – losing 6-3 – and snapping their five-game home winning streak. Things were no better on Thursday as the team collapsed in the third period to the Chicago Blackhawks on their way to a 4-1 loss.
Saturday provided some new hope and stopped what could have turned into an ugly slide for the Jets. They dominated the Minnesota Wild 6-0 at the Xcel Energy Center and are now 2-0 against them on the season – outscoring them 11-2 in the process.
It was another tough week of injuries for the Jets and they were once again active on the waiver wire. There has been no shortage of adversity and mental hurdles for the team this season but they somehow keep getting the job done. I will cover all that and more with another edition of Jets Weekly.
The latest from the Dustin Byfuglien saga has hit the news this past week, stirring up a whole new mix of emotions amongst fans. News broke on Dec. 18 that Byfuglien is in consultation with the Jets regarding his rehab on his injured ankle.
The fact that Byfuglien and the Jets are on speaking terms is great news and it could lead to a potential return for the 34-year-old once he is healthy. Things took a turn for the worst when Byfuglien underwent ankle surgery without communicating anything with Jets management. The team was clearly not pleased with his decision and Byfuglien was not pleased with the Jets either, leaving a strain on their relationship.
Byfuglien and his agent have since filed a grievance with the NHLPA regarding his suspension without pay. They obviously feel Byfuglien is entitled to his money and things will need to go through arbitration to get resolved. There is currently no date set for a hearing but the day will come at some point down the road.
Whether Byfuglien decides to come back or not it will be nice to have things resolved so the Jets can figure out what to do with his salary going forward. For the record, I still have hopes that he returns to the team once healthy – the Jets’ backend could sure use him.
Wheeler Breaks Record
Captain Blake Wheeler has broken Ilya Kovalchuk’s franchise record for most points (615) in Saturday’s 6-0 win over the Wild.
Wheeler registered two assists in the win and he now sits with 616 points over his time with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. This is currently Wheeler’s tenth season with the franchise; he played just one season with the Atlanta Thrashers before the team moved to Winnipeg.
What a story this was for Wheeler on Saturday as he broke the record in his home state in front of his mom and dad who were in attendance to witness the great accomplishment. On behalf of myself and everyone here at The Hockey Writers, congratulations Blake Wheeler!
Injuries Strike Again
The Jets had an unlucky week in the injury department once again as they lost forward Andrew Copp to an upper-body injury against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. He is considered week-to-week at this point which is another huge blow to the Jets’ third line.
They lost forward Mathieu Perreault last week to a nasty late hit by Philadelphia Flyers’ forward Joel Farabee in Sunday’s contest. Farabee received a three-game suspension for the hit and Perreault is not expected back in the lineup for another week at least.
The Jets are currently without six of their regular players (if you include Byfuglien) due to injury. Copp and Perreault join Byfuglien, Bryan Little, Mark Letestu, and Dmitry Kulikov on the walking wounded list.
Jets Claim Comrie
The Jets were busy on the waiver action once again this week, claiming goaltender Eric Comrie back from the Detroit Red Wings.
Comrie has been on quite the journey to start this season as he was claimed by the Arizona Coyotes back in October after the Jets tried to send him back to the Manitoba Moose. That was followed up by being traded to the Red Wings on Nov. 30 and starting against the Jets on Dec. 10 where he allowed five goals in a 5-1 loss.
Things have come around full swing for the 24-year-old as he is back with the Jets (for the time being). I suspect the move is to provide more depth for the Moose behind start Mikhail Berdin so expect Comrie to be sent back to the Moose at some point where he will have to clear waivers once again.
Harkins and Appleton Boost Bottom-Six
On Dec. 18, the Jets recalled forwards Mason Appleton and Jansen Harkins from the Moose following the additional injuries to the Jets’ bottom-six forward group.
The Jets surprised a lot of people, electing to send Appleton back to the Moose after he recovered from the foot injury he suffered at the end of October. He saw action in four games with the Moose, registering one assist and a minus-four rating.
Harkins meanwhile, earned his first opportunity with the Jets this season after racking up 31 points in 30 games with the Moose. He made his NHL debut on Dec. 21 against the Wild where he registered an assist and a plus-one rating.
He looked solid playing left wing on the fourth line and he could make a case to stay with the club fulltime.
A Look at the Week Ahead
The Jets will start the new week off today against the Montreal Canadiens. This will be the first time these two teams will meet this year and it is always an awesome atmosphere inside Bell MTS Place when they do with tons of Habs fans flooding the stands.
The Jets will close the week out with a home-and-home series against their Central Division rival St. Louis Blues on Friday and Sunday following the National Hockey League Christmas break from Dec. 24-26. These two teams have not met since the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Blues eliminated the Jets in six games.
Thank you for reading this week’s edition of ‘Jets Weekly’. Stayed tuned for next week’s edition and as always, feel free to leave any feedback or questions you may have in the comment section below, or follow me on Twitter @Goet91.