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Jets Lose to Penguins… Officially Eliminated… Changes Must Be Made

The Winnipeg Jets have been eliminated from the playoffs. With four games to play, the Jets can’t catch Dallas or Phoenix because the Stars and Coyotes face each other in the final game of the season so one of those teams will get two more points and the Jets have simply run out of games.

On Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. The loss left the Jets with a record of 34-34-10 (15-11-5 under Paul Maurice) and deeply in 11th place in the NHL’s Western Conference.

Sidney Crosby battles with Jacob  Trouba.

Sidney Crosby battles with Jacob Trouba.

The Penguins were just too good. Beau Bennett, Craig Adams, Paul Martin and Brian Gibbons scored goals while Sidney Crosby had a pair of assists and now has 102 points (the only player who will crack the 100-point plateau in the NHL this season). The Pens outshot the Jets 21-15 — that’s right, 21-15. It was a checking festival — a pedestrian affair for most fans.

“They (the Jets) played hard, it was a tough hockey game,” said Crosby after the game. “It took an effort for us to get out of here with a win.”

Gotta hand it to The Kid. He’s polite and classy. Fact is, it didn’t look as tough as he made it sound.

Blake Wheeler had an assist for the Jets and now has a personal-best 65 points this season. Since the injury to Mark Scheiefele, Wheeler has been the Jets best player and he was good again last  night.

Interestingly, the Jets might have been able to resurrect playoff talk with a win on Thursday night. The Dallas Stars were whupped 4-1 by the Hurricanes in Carolina ¬†and with a win the Jets would have been five points back of Dallas and Phoenix with four to play. That’s not impossible.

Instead, the Jets are seven back with four to play and that IS impossible. It’s over.

Oh, well, the Jets are exactly what we thought they were — a .500 team in a league where 10 games above .500 might not be good enough to qualify for the right to play in late April.

Sidney Crosby: 102 points (Photo by Jeff Miller)

Sidney Crosby: 102 points (Photo by Jeff Miller)

On Thursday, the Jets were beaten in their own barn by a better team. It was that simple. Now, it’s all about next year. Will there be a big trade? Is Evander Kane gone this off-season? Big Dustin Byfuglien? Ondrej Pavelec? A couple of young defensemen?

Regardless, this team isn’t going anywhere with its core group. Kevin Cheveldayoff is going to have to make a deal this summer if he ever intends to make this team a winner.

There is just something wrong with this team. It isn’t good enough. Period. Either Cheveldayoff can keep drafting players such as Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele and wait or he can step up, make a deal and see if he can upgrade — or at least change the culture. If you haven’t watched a game this season and you just looked at the standings, you would assume the Jets were not a very good team. You would be right.

In three seasons, Winnipeg Jets 2.0 have never made the playoffs.

Clearly, changes have to be made. We’ll see if the Jets brain trust is up to the challenge.

Sidney Crosby comes to the MTS Centre and plays a great hockey game. (Photo by Jeff Miller)

Sidney Crosby comes to the MTS Centre and plays a great hockey game. (Photo by Jeff Miller)

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