So uhh... there's no real reason to talk too much about the last time these teams met. I mean, they played a game against each other. It's what NHL teams do. I forget the details, but I do know that one team won, and the other lost, and then both teams went their separate ways.
Well here we are, a month later, and unlike last time, this time the Stars actually have a victory against a Central Division opponent to their credit. Glorious.
The Winnipeg Jets on the other hand find themselves in 4th place in the Central Division, one ahead of Dallas in the Division standings. However, 4th place in the Central equates to 5th place in the entire Western Conference, so there's a lot of Pacific Division filler between the Jets and the Stars. Boy it sure would be nice to start making up some of that ground right about now...
Old friend of the blog Ross Smith is back to tell us why that probably won't happen.
Our questions, his answers:
Defending Big D: Being realistic here, when is the bubble going to burst?
Ross Smith: When Hutchinson blows out a knee. Otherwise, it's a pretty sweet bubble. A trade deadline acquisition wouldn't hurt: scoring depth, please and thank you!
Obscene Alex: Defrost your crystal ball (do they make block heaters for those?) and tell us - on game day, will Fuggles be a forward or a defenseman?
RS: D, baby! Someone needs to manhandle Benn and Seguin and make them think otherwise about dancing into the offensive zone. And I hope he stays there even after Trouba returns. It is his Buff-right.
DBD: The Stars opt for a dynamic duo up top, with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn lighting up the opposition, and bequeathing points to whichever lamppost is playing with them on any given night. The Jets go the more egalitarian route, with a pretty consistent top line of Andrew Ladd (36 pts), Bryan Little (34 pts), and Blake Wheeler (33 pts). How does this top line stack up with others around the league?
RS: Strong, fast, creative, defensively sound - I think they're an underrated combo (Statistically they're a top-ten line in terms of point production) but that won't last if the wins keep coming. Other teams will start taking them more seriously and that's when the depth on this team will be truly challenged. Perrault helping out with a 4 goal night on occasion can't hurt.
OA: Evander Kane is in the middle of his sixth season and has had a couple of injuries so far. He's only surpassed .7 points per game once in his career. He has more success creating controversy than on the ice. Do Jets fans think he still has potential to be great, is he just good, or is he a bust?
RS: Well, I personally think he still has potential to be great but I have no idea what it will take to unlock it. Given the misplaced antipathy towards him, it may end up be a trade. Just like Ales Hemsky! Look how consistent he is now that... um... hey, who's seen Inherent Vice? Pretty great.
OA: The Jets are halfway through Ondrej Pavelec's 5 year, $19.5M contract, but Hutchinson seems to be the preferred crease option (big surprise). What sort of albatross will it be for the Jets to eat $3.9M a year to pay Pavelol to be a backup for the next two and a half seasons?
RS: I don't see what choice they have. You can try to trade him but who would want him at that cost? He's no genuine starter and eeeeverybody knows it. fun fact: "Pavelec" is Czech for "DiPietro"!
DBD: How are those early season injuries coming along? The Jets feeling fit and ready for the second half?
RS: Enstrom is back and already having a positive impact. Trouba's return will be welcome. Clitsome is still out and his name surely is a source of a lifetime of schoolyard taunting. I imagine he's sitting at home feeling bad about that but then he has some cocoa and remembers that he's living his dream of being an NHL player. "We can't all be Bobby Orr," he thinks. "But I do my part... marshmallows would really make this cocoa sing, I must have some in the cupboard somewhere!" Really, with that kind of positive attitude, Clitsome is just as helpful off or on the ice.
OA: And lastly, I'm too lazy to compare it to other rosters, but the Jets seem to have the roster names voted most likely to be used in a sentence. Top this sentence: Ben rolled down center ice on his Chiarot, passing to Zach, who was on his Bogosian stick before Evander Kaned it past Grant's [goaltender].
RS: Wait, where have I Benn all this time? I Seguin this motion to use player names in sentences. This could be something we do Daley. It's not like shoveling Cole, it's a snap to make these silly jokes, like a Fiddler playing a jig on New Year's Eaves! Sorry, I'm coming down with something, I have a sore throat, congestion and a nagging Horcoff. Uh-oh, I feel a sneeze coming on... ahhhhhhh**Nichushkin**!! Pardon me. that was a bad one, I think I pulled my Schlemko.
[Ed. Note: Pun leftovers:
- Frolik - a cowlick in poofy hair.
- Little Ladd Pardy - most frequently found at Chucky Cheese.
- The Postma rings twice.
Thanks, guys! Best of luck in the game; it should be a doozy! [Ed. note: And same to you, Ross! Except for the luck part...]