Not surprisingly, Kyle Connor met the shoulder-to-shoulder equivalent question.
After handling unreasonable questions about the frustration of landing on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols despite being symptom-free last week, the issue turned into a pursuit of its 50-goal mark – which was interrupted during the three games that Connor and Defenseman Schmidt missed last week. Has done.
“So far, you can’t look at the games you missed and what could have happened,” said Connor, who led the Jets to 41 goals and 82 points in 67 games this season. “You have to focus on the 12 games we have here, the 12 games as a team. If it happens, it will happen, but I’m focused on winning my team every night and trying to take care of it that way.
Connor isn’t a guy who publicly shares his personal goals, or he doesn’t enjoy talking about running after such watermarks.
A big part of it is his preserved nature, but the other part is how he is taking more steps in his leadership role with this group.
Throughout his career, Connor was not a person who wanted to be in the spotlight, nor did he become one of the most important players on the Jets roster.
He must have always had a high level of attention since being selected 17th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and this continued after an incredible new season with the University of Michigan Wolverine that earned him the Hobby Baker Award. Top players in NCAA men’s hockey.
In the first few years of his professional career, Connor often chose his words wisely and often did not dig into the details.
But this season, he has begun to spread his wings a bit, and his ability to keep a finger on his pulse and share those thoughts on the podium has been impressive.
Not only is there a clear sign of maturity as a speaker, it is equally evident when his game is rounded out on the ice.
Connor’s days are well into the rearview mirror as a complement to the Jets’ top line. He graduated to help drive sports and set standards.
If the Jets had any doubts about its value – and it shouldn’t have – they were on full display last week, especially in games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Los Angeles Kings.
These were two games when Connor’s elite-level finishing ability was greatly missed.
The underrated piece that was sorely lacking for the Jets is related to the Connor Penalty Kill.
While it’s true that the Jets have returned a push during shorthanding during the last 10 games, it works very little with Connor’s contribution.
The combination of his speed and instincts has added an important element to the Jets penalty-killing unit and perhaps the most impressive part of his addition is that adding those taxing minutes to his portfolio did not negatively affect his offense.
One of the highlights of Connor’s season is its consistency.
Connor not only made a ton of offense for himself and his linemates, he mostly avoided the long dry spell – the only exception was a five-match drought without a goal in November, but he did have two assists during that stretch to give a personal push. Point Streak before going without a point for three games in six games.
Connor has been one of the most productive seasons in the history of the Jets 2.0 franchise.
He is just three behind Patrick Lane’s record of 44 goals in the 2017-18 season and has been a significant distance from captain Blake Wheeler for the most points in a single season since the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in 2011 (91 in 2017-18, and again). . In 2018-19).
The Jets will host the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday as part of a three-game home stand against the Colorado Avalanche that ends Friday, with Conner and Schmidt back in the jets’ lineup, but forward Janssen Harkins is out with a suspect. Kings forward Arthur Kaliyev suffered a head injury after taking his elbow on Saturday.
Harkins is still being assessed, while team-forward Cole Perfetti has an indefinite upper-body problem that has kept him out of the lineup since Feb. 17, when he was hit by Seattle Kraken defender Jamie Oleksiak.
“He’s not skating, so (perfection) is unavailable,” said Dave Lowry, the Jets’ interim head coach. “It hasn’t changed.”
Conversations with Connor eventually led to the Jets finding themselves in a predicament.
With 12 games left in the regular season, trailing the Vegas Golden Knights by six points (and five points behind the Dallas Stars, who have two games in hand) is not where the Jets want to be.
These are fatal situations to be sure, but Connor is not ready to throw in the towel. He has kept the hope alive.
“I know this team is quite resilient,” Connor said. “It simply came to our notice then. We’re going to get the focus for that. We are going to be ready. Give us our best legs and see what happens here. I don’t think anyone believes that. We believe in this locker-room that we can do it. There are many skills, leadership. We all have elusive. We just have to put it together and see what happens. “