The equilibrium that existed for the Winnipeg Jets has been rocked over the past few days. First, there was the six-to-eight week injury to Mark Scheifele, the team’s second-leading scorer, and its best center. And then on Friday night, Brandon Tanev, a winger on the third line, went down in the first period and didn’t return. He was placed on injured reserve on Saturday, week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Now, Jets fans will be thinking, why is Tanev’s injury being mentioned in the same breath as Scheifele’s? Of course, Tanev doesn’t have anywhere near the same impact that Scheifele does, on the scoresheet or otherwise, but he has played a key role on a very important line for the Jets since early November. Since Adam Lowry returned from injury in early November, Jets coach Paul Maurice has deployed a line featuring Lowry, Tanev and Andrew Copp. On paper, its the team’s third line, but it’s played a pivotal role. Lowry’s line with Tanev and Copp had remained untouched until Maurice’s hand was forced on Friday. Maurice has talked at length about how well that line has gelled since it was formed. Maurice has sent out that line against the NHL’s best since it showed, early on, that it could handle those duties. And it’s had a trickle-down (and up) effect on the team’s forward contingent. In the past, Maurice and the Jets have relied on its top two lines to handle the brunt of the shutdown work. With that third line pitching in some valuable minutes in that role, it’s freed up the other two lines to do what they do best: score.
Injuries offer challenge while showing depth for the Winnipeg Jets
Pro Hockey Talk | Dec 30