There’s nothing like rolling out a mediocre AHL defensive unit and hoping for the best. That’s exactly what the Jets are doing these days. Winnipeg didn’t have a single defenseman that was in their top-eight on a minute-basis last season in the lineup on Tuesday evening. However, if you’re going to roll into action with a swiss cheese blue line, it’s best to do it in Pittsburgh where they arguably have an even worse unit. The results? Some goals. And the Jets needed them.
After leaving Sidney Crosby wide open just 30 seconds in for an easy finish, Winnipeg popped five straight including a career-first for Ville Heinola. I’ve been a big fan of this kid for some time. He plays a wickedly mature game for his age. And even though we’ve seen him make a few mistakes, the way he recovers is proof of his belonging in the league. And maybe even in line for so more offensive minutes.
Frankly, we don’t know what the hell is going to happen on that top power-play unit – especially with Josh Morrissey out for the next while with what is quite obviously concussion symptoms (I removed the ‘like’ part that most analysts use. There are no "concussion-like" symptoms unless you’re super hungover. That’s still just a hangover, but it’s kinda like a concussion too).
Sami Niku was patrolling the top unit during Tuesday's morning skate, but the Pens didn't take a penalty in the game. Niku is who I probably like best in that spot. But everyone could get a turn. That includes Neal Pionk an