The big buzzword after last night’s Winnipeg Jets loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets was “effort.”
ef·fort | ˈe-fərt , -ˌfȯrt
1: conscious exertion of power
2: a serious attempt
Jets players, coaches and various people covering the game felt that there was a “better effort” from the Jets on Wednesday night in Columbus than presumably there was the previous night in Carolina which may or may not be entirely true.
The thing is if you’ve listened to post game interviews over the last few contests, the Jets’ effort hasn’t exactly been in question. Here’s Paul Maurice after the loss against the Carolina Hurricanes – he mentions that he had no problem with the team’s effort about 40 seconds into the clip.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) January 22, 2020
And so it goes, 24 hours after Paul Maurice said he liked his team’s effort against Carolina, in an agreed statement of facts shared by multiple people and accounts, the Jets had a “better effort” against Columbus.
Perhaps though people are confusing “better effort” with what would be a more accurate designation of “closer game,” because that was what the Jets were in against the Blue Jackets compared to the game against the Hurricanes. The Jets gave up three goals in the first period and were behind by two after the first 20 minutes in Carolina. The following night in Columbus they scored first, were up by a goal after one period, and tied at 3-3 going into the third period. They remain tied for a little over 14 minutes into the final frame when Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his second goal of the night.
Blue jackets take the 4-3 as Bjorkstrand would not be denied and goes short-side on Brossoit. pic.twitter.com/9sGhihh20Y
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) January 23, 2020
You can argue that there was an attempt by Dmitry Kulikov to make the hit. An ‘effort’ to make a hit as it were.
You can also argue that the Jets as a team on the ice made an effort to get back on defense as there were three other Jets players in front of the net ready to defend. Laurent Brossoit made an effort to be tight to the post and not give Bjorkstrand much to shoot at.
The problem isn’t effort, it’s clearly there in that one play. The problem with the Jets – as you can see summed up in that one highlight GIF above – right now lies within the execution of it all.
The Jets out-shot the Blue Jackets 30-29, so there is no question that there was an effort made.
As the heat map would suggest however, where that effort was placed continues to be a problem. The Jets simply don’t get to the front of the opposing net enough – although last night was better than what we’ve seen in recent games – and they allow far too much activity to happen around their own net, though again as the heat map kind of shows, it was at least better than what we’ve seen in games against Tampa Bay and Chicago.
High danger scoring chances – because you know I’ll always bring that up – were 11-7 in favor of Columbus at even strength. 12-7 if you count all situations. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to what that means.
Kyle Connor had a good effort last night. Scored a goal off a tip in of an Anthony Bitetto shot (hey, a player in front of the opposing net, whadda concept!) and twice he found himself virtually alone with the puck in prime scoring areas, but couldn’t finish the plays.
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) January 23, 2020
There were plenty of examples of good effort from Winnipeg on Wednesday night. Was it better than it was in Carolina the night before? Perhaps, but it’s kind of hard to measure these things. The Jets have shown plenty of effort in the last couple of games and though the entire season . Save for some duds against Tampa Bay or Detroit, there haven’t been many games where anyone could sit there and suggest that the Jets didn’t at least try to win the game.
But now the word effort is being thrown around as if it can mask a four game losing streak and a stretch of six losses in seven games.
They give up too many high quality scoring chances and don’t get nearly enough of them for their own, they allow far too many odd man rushes every game, they often struggle to get out of their own defensive zone with clean exits, their man to man coverage often means assignments will be missed and players will get burned – much like Nikolaj Ehlers did on the first CBJ goal from Seth Jones…
But gosh darn it, they had a good effort. No need to change the coach, or the general manager, or the players, because the effort is there. Everyone’s trying.
That all being the case, can I at least suggest one addition to the Jets be made at the trade deadline?
Go get the kid that was yelling encouragement at the Miami Heat players after losing game five of the 2012 NBA East Finals.
That impromptu motivational speech worked out well for the Heat as they ended up winning the series and the NBA Championship.
Maybe we as a fan base just need to keep yelling “good job, good effort” at the Jets. It looks like a bunch of you have already started.