The first game after summer is always a little rough, but nobody expected a performance like that.

The Winnipeg Jets opened up the Rookie Showcase in Belleville with a trouncing at the hands of the Senators. Although Winnipeg was on the board early, Ottawa ran away with the game in the second period as they scored six goals in the second period alone.

The Senators kept it coming in the third period as they piled on two more goals and cruised to an 8-1 victory. While the Senators were expected to have a strong rookie team, the Jets clearly weren’t at their best in this one.

Here’s some thoughts from the first taste of hockey that we’ve had in months.

  • The Jets at least scored a goal.

  • One of the biggest areas of weakness for Winnipeg was their lack of speed and aggressiveness. The Jets were beaten to pucks repeatedly throughout the game and Ottawa was able to turn pucks over and spring multiple odd-man rushes going back the other way. The forwards weren’t coming back fast enough, and the defense had poor control at the blueline as Ottawa sped past them time after time.

  • The other area of weakness was defensive zone coverage. The Sens were able to score a few goals off rebounds by beating the defenders to the puck. Winnipeg didn’t tie up the opposition in the crease nor did they clear the puck. These two errors led to Ottawa capitalizing on multiple occasions.
  • Although most of the game wasn’t too strong, the Jets had a few bright spots. Heinola had some good plays in the offensive zone. Even though he lost the puck a few times on the powerplay, it appears that he has the poise and the skill to be an effective defensemen.

  • The top line of Vesalainen, Suess, and Popov were clearly the best line as they were the only ones to generate strong offensive zone time. Even though Phelan was the only player to score, the top line seemed to have the best chances.
  • The talk of the team, Kristian Vesalainen, didn’t have much going on in this game. Although the line had some chances, Vesalainen didn’t do anything to take over the game as he was merely average in this one. Hopefully the top prospect will be able to get his legs under him in game two on Sunday.