The Winnipeg Jets are eliminated and there will be pots to mend.
Jets head coach Rick Bowness attacked his leaders’ desire to win after the game.
“The same problem happened in February when we were approaching the front row,” he spat furiously during his press briefing. You have to have pride. Their best players were far superior to ours. Not even close…”
The Jets, however, experienced extenuating circumstances during their series against the Golden Knights. Their best defenseman, Josh Morrissey, 76 points in the regular season, fell in action in Game 3. Nikolaj Ehlers played only one match, the last one on Thursday. Injured in the fourth meeting, Mark Scheifele missed the one where Ehlers returned to the game.
But injuries haven’t helped to elicit any empathy from Bowness. He did not name Pierre-Luc Dubois, but we guess that the Quebecer occupied his thoughts during his short, but furious press briefing.
After a promising first game, Dubois has been limited to two points in the last four games. He also took three minor penalties in Game 3, and another in the following game, which led to Vegas’ second goal two seconds after returning to the ice.
Despite Scheifele’s absence, Dubois was limited to 17:49 in the final game, his lowest total in the series. Kyle Connor, Ehlers and even Mason Appleton, five regular season goals, played more. Scheifele had hardly been better before suffering his injury.
General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will have a reflection to make this summer. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, Blake Wheeler, Scheifele, Nino Niederreiter, Dubois, Brenden Dillon and Dylan DeMelo will be entitled to full autonomy in a year.
Do the Jets have the rosters with the current core for a final bid to win the Stanley Cup, after narrowly making the playoffs this year, missing the playoffs the previous season and losing in four straight games to the Canadiens in the second round two years before ?
Winnipeg Free Press columnist Mike McIntyre already has recommendations for Cheveldayoff.
“The status quo will not be acceptable,” he wrote Friday morning. The pathetic performance in Game 5, where several Jets players already looked like they were on holiday, broke the camel’s back for Bowness. However, we hired this one to shake up this pampered core too often in recent years. »
McIntyre is particularly targeting the team’s first two centers, Scheifele and Dubois. “Yes, it’s for you, Pierre-Luc Dubois, who was on the ice for three Golden Knights goals Thursday night who didn’t seem to have the willpower to stop them. Mark Scheifele should not be spared either even though he got injured in game four. Bowness didn’t bench him (along with Kyle Connor) for nothing after the All-Star Game break. »
In defense of Dubois, he was very soft on the goal of Mark Stone, the second for Vegas, but he was not to blame on the first, nor on the third, since he was barely out of the bench on a Golden Knights counterattack. We must especially attribute these goals to a porous defense of the Jets. But the body of work hasn’t been transcendent nonetheless, and Bowness hasn’t attacked his stars for nothing.
“Scheifele and Dubois may have played their last game in Winnipeg,” McIntyre continued. They surely won’t get the coach’s praise during Bowness’ check-in with his boss. They will become unrestricted free agents in a year. A change of scenery would benefit both parties. »
Rumors have linked Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens for several seasons, but even more so for a year. Dubois would suggest to those around him his desire to play in Montreal.
Dubois remains an attractive player: just 24 years old, 6-foot-4, 214 pounds, 63 points in 73 regular season games.
But despite his talent and all the affection he can inspire in us, we must not ignore the red flags. He left Columbus with a bang, after demanding a trade, in the heart of the uproar with John Tortorella, and his end of the season with the Jets turned sour.
Tortorella and Bowness aren’t easy coaches, but they generally let their players breathe when the going gets tough.
The idea is not to oppose its acquisition by the Canadian. But also not to ignore the slightly more worrying aspects in his case. To this end, the management of the CH will undoubtedly do its homework.
If he comes to the metropolis, Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes will have ensured that he does not become the next Jonathan Drouin.
The average Canadiens fan loves these Quebecers elsewhere in the NHL and still dreams of seeing them end up in Montreal. But then he is his fiercest critic when their performances fall short of expectations. Drouin can attest to this…
After crushing the Devils at Newark by identical scores of 5-1 in the first two games of the series, the Rangers lost their third straight meeting Thursday, clean and crisp, 4-0. They will be eliminated if they lose the next game on Saturday.
After vilifying his players following the loss in Game 4, coach Gerard Gallant changed his approach. “We played with more intensity than in the previous game,” he told reporters after the game. The effort was satisfying. The Devils played quite a game. We have to give them the credit. They played their best game of the series in my eyes. »
Despite already having one of the strong offenses in the NHL, the Rangers gave the Blues first-round and third-round picks in 2023 for Vladimir Tarasenko and second- and third-round picks in 2023 also for Patrick Kane (the second-round pick becomes a first-round pick in 2024 or 2025 if New York reaches four aces).
At this point in their cycle, the game was worth the effort. But with just two goals scored in the team’s last three meetings against goalkeeper Akira Schmid, Gallant and his boss Chris Drury are waiting for a return on investment.
A victory on Saturday and the pressure will switch again to the other side of the bank…
1- From moribund four years ago, the Gatineau Olympiques are in the midst of a renaissance. Katherine Harvey-Pinard saw it firsthand during her visit to the Outaouais this week.
2- Unsurprisingly, the Panthers picked quarterback Bryce Young in the NFL Draft on Thursday, but the Houston Texans stole the show by nabbing a second top-three pick. Nicholas Richard’s analysis.
3- The defense of CF Montreal is in full reconstruction. The results are starting to show. Justin Vézina tells us more.