It's Thursday, so that must mean the Hurricanes are playing at home. Tonight, the Canes welcome the Winnipeg Jets to town for the first time this season, and the first of four meetings between the clubs. To get a preview on what's happening around an increasingly restless Winnipeg club (not to mention fanbase), we welcome in TJ Maughan from Arctic Ice Hockey for this edition of Three Questions.
- What will the ultimate end game be of the Evander Kane saga? Will he and the Jets make nice, or is the bridge too far burned and the Jets will be forced into a trade?
I truly believe the end game is that Kane doesn't finish his career in Winnipeg, the reason being twofold. Firstly, if Winnipeg plans on building with the Nashville Predators model of success as they have claimed, it will mean they have to make important but frugal decisions when it comes to free-agency. At some point in time, Kane will price himself out of Winnipeg's range and he'll go make millions elsewhere, as is his wont.
The second reason is that this negative cloud that surrounds him in the local media isn't going away any time soon. At various points, it will continue to rear it's ugly head, inflating any distain Kane might already have for this city to the point where Winnipeg will be an afterthought when it comes time to sign his next big deal. Thankfully, the Jets still retain RFA right's on Kane after his current contract expires so five years from now should be an interesting time in Winnipeg.
- Of course as soon as I ask this he's guaranteed to have a five-point night given how he's owned the Canes over the years, but is Olli Jokinen's lack of production this year a harbinger of things to come? Is there any way he lives up to that $9 million contract he signed last summer?
Jokinen has been playing well despite a lack of offensive production. He along with Kane and Blake Wheeler have all been performing admirably, but possess shooting percentages under 6%, which is due for an increase -- hopefully tonight!
(Ed. note: fan-freaking-tastic. I'm not responsible when Jokinen turns into Darryl Sittler tonight.)
- If it hasn't already ended, how much longer of a honeymoon do the Jets have if they can't turn things around this season? At what point do Claude Noel's and/or Kevin Cheveldayoff's seats become rather warm?
Local media has made it clear this year that the honeymoon period is indeed over. Having said that, expectations still need to be curbed for a team that has plenty of building to do. Now, while a 2013 playoff berth would be nice, Winnipeggers would be happy with even a marked improvement over their 2011-12 season. So far, they've been treated to stagnation, which has frustrated us to no end. I would say that if the Jets are still a team staving off 30th in the NHL come 2013-14, Noel and/or Cheveldayoff will be in big trouble.