Winnipeg Jets Open Up Season with Lackluster Effort and Loss

Anthony CapocciContributor IJanuary 19, 2013

WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 19:  The Winnipeg Jets salute the fans in a pre-game ceremony before first period action in a game against the Ottawa Senators on January 19, 2013 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
Marianne Helm/Getty Images

After the long and dreadful lockout, the Winnipeg Jets were set to begin their season Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.

The fans packed the MTS Center after much anticipation to kick off the season. They were loud, excited, and ready to see their team take the ice for the first time this season. However, the result probably wasn't what they were expecting.

The Jets started off fast with high energy and a loud crowd backing them. Dustin Byfuglien scored the Jets first goal of the season early in the first period, but shortly after, everything went downhill. The Senators scored four unanswered goals and took the victory by the final score of 4-1.

Hockey is a game of luck and the Jets were on the opposite side of it early on in this game. If it weren't for two posts, the outcome would have been entirely different. The Jets did have some chances in this game but failed to capitalize on them, especially on the power play.

As the game went on, the Jets became more sluggish. All signs pointed towards the rust factor. The Jets were rusty.

The Jets were suffering from the rust that was brought from the lockout. With little practice, scrimmage, and the fact that there were no exhibition games, the Jets were unable to find chemistry and mesh together on the ice. The players weren't in sync with one another.

There were some glaring and obvious holes that have to be fixed. Some that the Jets are hoping don't carry over from last season.

The Jets power play was woeful. They were put on it six times but only managed to score once. Aside from their first power play, which led to the Byfuglien goal, they were disastrous on the man advantage. Special teams is going to be a key factor this season and something they'll have to work on.

Defensive zone play wasn't at its best in this game. The Jets struggled to get the puck up and out of the zone multiple times throughout the game, some of which led to goals. There were too many turnovers and foolish plays coming from the defensive zone.

To be fair, play was poor in all three zones. There isn't much to do except get back in a groove and learn to fix the problems. Coach Claude Noel will certainly be up to the task as the Jets prepare to take flight to Boston for a matinee start on Monday.

The negatives outweigh the positives in a game like this, but the fact that Jets hockey is back is the most important positive of all. Sure the Jets played poorly, but it was fun seeing the players back on the ice again.

The good news is it's only one game. Yes, even in the 48-game format, it's still just one game. Rust is expected for every team.