Sunday, 10 January 2016

Track Suit Live Blog!

Yes, that actually happened. Evander Kane showed up for an interview with TSN's Sara Orlesky on a Jets broadcast with his track suit pretty much unzipped and bare-chested underneath. Because the Sabres and Kane are in town for what is being called "Track Suit Night" at MTS Centre, today's live blog is brought you by Kane's track suit. This one is going to be fun because there will be lots of Evander Kane pictures and a ton of snarky comments. I'm holding nothing back today.

For a guy who has all the talent and speed in the world when he's on two skates, the moment his feet his the non-frozen ground he becomes an egomaniac. Some will argue that he was the same egomaniac on the ice, but the Jets players have all vouched for his efforts on the ice in practice and during games so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. However, his numerous, well-publicized off-ice incidents still seem to overshadow the good he did on the ice and in the community with his charitable efforts.

Track Suit Night is less about Evander Kane and more about the fans sticking it to a guy who always seemed to have his nose in the air about Winnipeg. Today is a way for the fans to give Evander Kane the finger after all the time he seemed to give it to the fans. Today, at 2pm CT, is the last time that this blog will spend any time talking about Evander Kane unless he truly does something remarkable. Like apologize.

That won't happen, though. It's Evander's world and the rest of us just live in it. Well, it's time to rattle that cage a little, so stay tuned for this live blog. It's gonna be a good'un!

Pre-Game Stuff

  • According to Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma yesterday, "I talked to Evander I think it was June 5 and 6 this summer and he had this day circled on the calendar already." Bring it.
  • As for Kane, he told reporters, "I'm sure it'll be interesting and entertaining." Right. Might be the biggest two points of his career thus far. You wonder how focused he'll be on earning points rather than sparring with fans and former teammates.
  • Linus Ullmark will start for the Sabres in today's game. Ullmark hasn't won since December 12, and enters the game with a 5-10-2 record, a 2.66 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
  • Connor Hellebuyck will start for the Jets, and he's been excellent in his last three games going 2-0-1. Hellebuyck is 9-4-1 on the season with a 1.85 GAA and a .937 save percentage.
  • BWAhahahahaha! Crowd's already into it!
  • Looks like Mark Scheifele isn't taking the pre-game skate. Anthony Peluso is out there, so it looks like we'll have some new combos for today. Missing Scheifele will make things a little tougher on the Jets.
  • You wonder if Kane will have any words for Andrew Copp who wears his #9 for the Jets now. Or if Copp will say anything to Kane.
  • Jets sit four points back of both Nashville and Colorado. More importantly, they sit four points back of the Avalanche who hold the eighth-place spot in the division and the first wild card spot.
  • Buffalo is 13 points out of a playoff spot. Hi, Auston Matthews.
  • Zemgus Girgensons is a gametime decision for the Sabres. Carlo Colaiacovo is taking the warm-up for the Sabres.

First Period

  • There are a ton of fans dressed up for this game. Forget Halloween - Track Suit Night has the best costumes!
  • Scheifele confirmed out with a lower-body injury. Boo-urns!
  • If Peluso really wants to find himself back in this lineup, he needs to start playing as a pest who can score a la Gallagher or Marchand. Drop the gloves if you have to, but let's see some real evolution of his game.
  • EXCELLENT "True North" from Jets fans. Get into it!
  • Opening face-off will see Adam Lowry and Ryan O'Reilly at the dot as this game is underway!
  • First stoppage in play is Hellebuyck freezing the puck after a good attempt by the Sabres. Jets need to match the energy.
  • Myers gets a huge cheer upon touching the puck. Myers, of course, was one of the players who came back to Winnipeg in the Kane trade.
  • Not sure why Sam Reinhart was given that much room, but that's a quick goal that will take the energy out of the fans. Ehlers with a big circle in his own zone couldn't get to Reinhart, and his shot beats Hellebuyck.
  • GOAL: Sam Reinhart (10) from Johan Larsson and Mike Weber at 1:37. SABRES LEAD 1-0.
  • Kane's first touch is met with a chorus of boos.
  • Andrew Ladd is having a terrible season when it comes to puck possession. Don't ask for a raise, Ladd. Ask for a new stick.
  • Boom! Turnover, puck on net, Wheeler with the deflection! Jets tie the game up!
  • GOAL: Blake Wheeler (11) from Bryan Little and Drew Stafford at 5:21. GAME TIED 1-1.
  • Commercial break! Refill those beverages, kids!
  • Buffalo is 0-15-0 in the last two Januaries. BRUTAL.
  • Zemgus Girgensons is in the lineup for Buffalo.
  • Stuart throwing the body around. I like it.
  • Evander Kane's stats to this point: 1 hit, 3:07 TOI.
  • Kane's total effect on game? Zero.
  • Kane ices the puck with 6:49 to play. I seem to remember that happening a lot while he was in Winnipeg.
  • Tyler Myers just roughed up Evander Kane, but the referee calls Myers for holding. Couldn't tell if that was Chris Rooney or Francis Charron who made the call, but Myers will sit for two or less.
  • Connor Hellebuyck has made one of Pavelec or Hutchinson expendable. The kid is a stud. Lock him up for the next 47 years.
  • Winnipeg's Toby Enstrom with a solid deflection to give Reinhart his second of the game as the Sabres' power-play strikes. Nice job, Toby.
  • GOAL: Sam Reinhart (11) from Rasmus Ristolainen and Jack Eichel at 14:29. SABRES LEAD 2-1.
  • Ben Chiarot's shot was vintage Kane: directly into the chest of netminder Linus Ullmark with no one in front.
  • I've always believed that players should go to a puck when it's passed to them. Stafford just took two steps away from the puck behind the net, and that allowed Buffalo to clear the zone. That's just sloppy and careless puck possession in the offensive zone.
  • The Jets need two more players with the heart and effort of Mathieu Perreault. #85 is a lot better than he's given credit for.
  • Linus Ullmark just ROBBED Drew Stafford. Wow.
  • Mike Weber interfered with a Jet with just 18.2 seconds to play. Jets will have a power-play to start the second period if they can't convert in the short time they have left in the first period. Weber will watch from the sin bin.
  • That'll do it for the opening frame. Buffalo leads 2-1.

First Intermission

  • Kane's first period stats: 2 hits, 1 block, 7:01 TOI.
  • I like where this is heading. Maybe the KHL is more Kane's speed? It seems this NHL career hasn't really panned out.
  • What's that? He already played there?
  • How did he do there? In 12 games with Dinamo Minsk, he scored one goal, added one assist, racked up 47 penalty minutes, and was an entirely horrific -8. Yikes.
  • So what happened? According to Kane, the KHL was all about sitting back and trapping in contrast to his forechecking style. I'm not buying it.

Second Period

  • Well, that was quick and painless! Mathieu Perreault unleashes hell upon Ullmark with that blast. Jets have tied it up on the man-advantage!
  • There's going to be a challenge as the Sabres believe Andrew Ladd was offside. There might be time to order pizza and have it delivered.
  • GOOD GOAL! Perreault scores!
  • GOAL: Mathieu Perreault (7) assisted by Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler at 0:55. GAME TIED 2-2.
  • I would have called the Sabres for too many men. But I'm a stickler for rules.
  • Ehlers on the breakaway goes forehand-backhand, but Ullmark closes the wickets to deny him!
  • Buffalo takes a penalty immediately after, and now there's a scrap between Chris Thorburn and Mike Weber. Weber is officially a goal away from the Gordie Howe hat trick.
  • Jets to the power-play after the tussle is done and the yard sale is cleaned up. I'd give the nod to Thorburn in that middleweight bout.
  • Jets need more traffic in front. Ullmark hasn't looked comfortable looking around players for the puck.
  • Power-play ends with no celebration.
  • Jets are going to kill a penalty now. Burmistrov's called for hooking on a very questionable call by the officials.
  • Byfuglien up-ends Kane in the neutral zone, and the crowd lets out a roar! Heads up, Evander, because BUFF SMASH!
  • Jets kill the penalty. No harm, no foul.
  • Zebras are discussing the face-off spot. Jets will get a defensive zone face-off out of this. Hand-pass might have been the reason.
  • I know he was shipped out, but I really want to see Zach Bogosian do well in Buffalo. He had his issues here, but he really went out of his way in doing as many community events as possible.
  • Can I just say that I really hate the RideTime goofs? I guarantee you I'll never buy a car from those two. Ever.
  • Dear Toby Enstrom: I realize I have never played in the NHL, but if you think you can skate through three players instead of dumping it in, you're entirely wrong. Nice turnover.
  • Myers breaks up the 2-on-1 the other way. Myers is good.
  • I was hoping Peluso would draw the Sabres into a penalty there. No dice, but kudos on Peluso for not taking a penalty either.
  • Drew Stafford with a hard back-check to thwart Kane on the rebound on the 2-on-1. If you want to complain about Stafford and what he brings to the team, you don't watch much Jets hockey.
  • Looks like Perreault took a bit of a charley horse from how he was holding his thigh on the bench. Jake McCabe's knee looked like it caught Perreault on the thigh.
  • Blake Wheeler will watch from the sin bin for two or less after he's called for high-sticking, but it appears his stick never was raised above Ristolainen's waist. Sold the call, Jets will penalty-kill.
  • Excellent work on the penalty kill by the Jets! Lowry and Byfuglien should be commended as the Jets escape the penalty!
  • Zebra conference again. Too many men vs. offside. It appears the linesman impeded the change, so no call is made. This seems fishy.
  • That'll do it for two periods as we're tied 2-2!

Second Intermission

  • Kane's stats to this point: 1 shot, 3 hits, 1 block, 13:03 TOI.
  • Perhaps Kane needs to look at a career change if this hockey thing doesn't work out. He's still in very good shape, though. I'm thinking a more individual sport would be best.
  • Maybe he can join Milos Raonic on the ATP circuit?
  • Or maybe he can hop in the ring like his idol, Floyd Mayweather?
  • Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is giving nothing away in his interview with Sara Orlesky between periods. His dress shirt is buttoned up, though. Would have been really funny had he shown up like Kane with the bare chest.
  • Yes, I'm going to watch the X-Files two-night premiere.
  • Is there anyone in the business better at stating the painfully obvious than Gary Lawless? There's a reason why he's a CFL Insider and not an NHL Insider.
  • "Some stuff happened that we don't know about." Um, aren't you supposed to find out? Isn't that what good journalists do?
  • Lawless brings up Evander Kane's sexual assault investigation. Yet no one is talking about "The Billboard" after Mara Teigen accused him of cheating.
  • Let's be honest: Kane's problems are a result of Evander Kane. It wasn't Winnipeg, it's not Buffalo, and it wasn't Vancouver.

Third Period

  • Perreault is back on the ice. Good to see for Jets fans.
  • Wow. Chiarot just ripped that wrist shot high, and Ullmark made a gorgeous glove save to keep this a tie game. Wowzers.
  • That was a lazy, uncharacteristic rebound for Hellebuyck, and he paid for not concentrating. Gionta's rebound goes directly to Marcus Foligno, and the Sabres' winger finds the back of the net.
  • GOAL: Marcus Foligno (3) from Brian Gionta and Jake McCabe at 4:12. SABRES LEAD 3-2.
  • Jets are playing with zero energy right now. Not good.
  • Jets are looking for a board game because they don't have a Clue! in their own defensive zone right now.
  • Ten minutes to play. Jets need some life.
  • Dennis Beyak is giving out broken stick stats. For real.
  • If Andrew Ladd was as good as his stats suggest he is, this third line of the Jets would be a lot better. Ladd's stats are far more likely a product of Little and Wheeler for the last few years.
  • How is Franson not called for interference when he pushes Perreault to the ice in front of the crease? Had Perreault been on his skates, that pass from Ehlers has a chance of going in the net. C'mon, refs!
  • 4:16 remaining. Jets are generating very little offence. Buffalo is playing goal by committee as there are four to five white jerseys around the crease every time the Jets are in the Buffalo zone.
  • Pretty sure that Shane Hnidy is drinking between the benches. Perreault's upper-body injury happened seconds ago, not late in the second period. It was when Franson dumped him.
  • Good sequence there for the Jets led by Dustin Byfuglien. The Jets need more pressure like that if they're going to tie the game.
  • Perreault has gone to the dressing room. We'll see what happens there, but that should have been called on Franson.
  • Connor Hellebuyck is on the bench. Six attackers for the Jets with 1:49 to play in regulation time.
  • Holy Myers. Just got back to keep that flip down the ice by Ristolainen out of the yawning cage.
  • Winnipeg calls a timeout with 50-some seconds to play. This doesn't look good, but there's still time to do something. Anything.
  • The Jets can't control it in the offensive zone as Ladd commits the turnover, and Kane feeds Sam Reinhart for the hat trick. Put it in the books, kids. This party is over.
  • Wait... wait a second. Reinhart may have been offside. Honestly, it looks inconclusive, so we might as well call it 4-2.
  • Call on the ice stands. Good goal.
  • GOAL: Sam Reinhart (12) assisted by Evander Kane at 19:33. SABRES LEAD 4-2.
  • Let me be the first to say it: classy move by Evander Kane to set up Reinhart for his first career hat trick. He could have scored that goal into the empty net, but a very unselfish play to give Reinhart the accolade. Kudos, Evander Kane. Kudos.
  • That'll do it. Buffalo downs Winnipeg by a 4-2 score.

Post-Game Stuff

  • Let's be honest: the Jets didn't deserve to win this game. There was zero energy from midway through the second period through to the end of the game.
  • Kane's final stats: 1 assist, +1, 3 shots, 4 hits, 1 block, 21:32 TOI.
  • Connor Hellebuyck, despite being so good on the road, had a simple mental lapse that cost him and the Jets. To his credit, I was pretty bored with this game at that point as well.
  • The more I watch him play on the third line, the less I like the chances of Andrew Ladd remaining in Winnipeg. He needs to elevate his game and that line. Be a leader, bring the energy, and make something happen.
  • Full marks to Linus Ullmark who made a number of good saves. He earned this win to snap his personal losing streak and the six-game losing streak the Buffalo Sabres were on.
  • These two points were ones the Jets needed. They now find themselves one game below .500 again, and they just gave away two crucial points in their hunt for a playoff spot.
  • That'll do it from Winnipeg! Thanks for reading!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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