Frank Seravalli was joined by Mike McKenna to discuss the Western Conference playoff race and whether the Winnipeg Jets have what it takes to win a playoff series on the latest episode of Daily face-to-face live.
Frank Seravalli: The Winnipeg Jets are a team with a ton of talent, you and I picked them to win the Stanley Cup last year, this year they have at least a chance. They are slowly getting closer to their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs. They picked up a huge victory on Monday night to really set themselves up after a series of them where they got their game in order. Their magic number, now reduced to one. What do you think of the Jets’ recent push and more importantly with Connor Hellebuyck in the net and the way he played we’ll get into that a bit moving forward in the blue paint but what do you think of their chances to play the spoiler in the first round of the playoffs?
Mike McKenna: Well, we’ll see, I’ve had a hard time believing Winnipeg at any point this season. We will talk about it about Connor Hellebuyck. But unless he allows two goals or less, they struggle to win games. It just depends on the best guys in Winnipeg, if they bring it every night. When Wheeler and Scheifele and Dubois and Kyle Connor are off the scoreboard, they’re not going anywhere, so where will that playoff experience come from?
In the past that hasn’t really happened so I don’t have a ton of faith in Winnipeg They have to beat Minnesota tonight to make the playoffs because Colorado is left on the schedule for Colorado, I don’t like this game because Nashville has to wait a bit before playing. The only thing I found encouraging from the other night against the Sharks was that the big guys showed up, it has to happen, but without the big dogs, I don’t know how they’re going to fare against the Colorado or Vegas.
Frank Seravalli: The Jets clinch the playoffs if they get one more point or if Nashville loses one more point. So the fact that we’re still talking about the Predators at this point in the season, having as small a chance as possible of getting in. It’s pretty amazing considering this team sold Tanner Jeannot and Mattias Ekholm ad Nino Niedderreiter and we can go through the list. These are also the injuries they have suffered along the way. I saw a ton of heart from the Predators that I don’t think anyone really saw coming.
mike mckenna: Yeah, I don’t think so, I think it’s largely just the enthusiasm there Frank, you look at Tommy Novak and some of the young players there who have done a great job for this team. It wasn’t just Josi’s show like it was last year or just Saros’ show this year even though he played a huge part. I think there’s just a Nashville vibe, at least they seem to be having a good time there.
Frank Seravalli: Yeah, what does that say about the future of head coach John Hynes, I think there’s been a lot of rumors over the past two months. You know, GM is obviously changing with the arrival of Barry Trotz who will probably put his own stamp on it and John Hynes could be out of work. But then you see this end-of-season push and you’re like it looks like a team that’s still connected at the hip with the coach.
Mike McKenna: Yeah, I don’t feel any worries about Hynes really with Barry Trotz walking up and saying hey, he’s out of here. Especially in a time of transition, do you want to go with someone different. Usually in those situations, like Blashill in Detroit a few years ago, he stayed through the rebuild as long as Yzerman could hold on and things didn’t improve. I think Hynes has the same rope in Nashville.
Frank Seravalli: It’s really all over the league, you also look at the Anaheim Ducks. Dallas Eakins in the last year of his contract, do you really want to go out and find a new coach when you can just keep the same guy for largely the same collection of players that are going to come next.