Kukla's Korner Hockey
"I went in and talked a little bit about what I saw, congratulated them on facing some tough adversity and winning, thanked them, and then proceeded to cancel the day off that they had tomorrow."
"It was good enough tonight but we can't rely on that being good enough in our next game. We've just got to get better."
-Paul Maurice after his first game behind the bench for the Winnipeg Jets. More on their 5-1 win over Phoenix from the CP at TSN.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
... what's at stake is so much bigger, especially given that this season is already a write-off with the Jets 10 points back of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Moving a franchise to Winnipeg brought with it inherent risks.
Like Edmonton or smaller markets with little recent history of success (sorry, Wayne Gretzky et al was so long ago), the path to viability is clearly marked with little margin for error. Draft shrewdly, develop properly, hire good hockey people up and down the organization, including the coaching staff, and hope that as your team grows and matures and takes steps forward you become the kind of place other good hockey players and people will be drawn to.
We've seen the model happen for years in Detroit and more recently in Chicago and Pittsburgh.
But fail to hit those markers, draft poorly or make poor decisions in handing out long-term deals and that plan falls to pieces in a hurry. Make mistakes and as an organization you're forced to overpay for free agents that would rather be somewhere else or rush young players into roles they're not equipped to handle and the circle of failure spins and spins.
Andrew Ladd, the captain of the Jets on the coaching change.
As Ladd mentions, it now falls on the players.
added 11:09am, form the Winnipeg Jets,
The Winnipeg Jets announced today they have relieved Claude Noel of his duties as Head Coach of the hockey club. The team also announced they have relieved Assistant Coach Perry Pearn of his duties.
The Winnipeg Jets also announced they have hired Paul Maurice as the second Head Coach in franchise history since their move from Atlanta to Winnipeg in 2011.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
... They most likely will not make the playoffs for the third straight year since their relocation from Atlanta. There is no doubting the Jets’ skill, from their first line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, and Blake Wheeler, to their stacked defense that includes Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian, and Jacob Trouba. But none of Winnipeg’s best players offers anything in terms of resistance when opponents flex their muscles.
It is GM’s Kevin Cheveldayoff’s mandate to improve Winnipeg’s goaltending. Ondrej Pavelec is under contract for three more seasons, but the 26-year-old Pavelec is showing no signs of changing who he is: an up-and-down goalie who undermines the three saves he shouldn’t make with the one stop he should. Winnipeg’s identity is high-tempo, offense-first skill. Mistakes will happen in those types of systems. Pavelec isn’t good enough to negate them. There are goaltending options. The Ducks have four between Anaheim and Norfolk: Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth, Frederik Anderssen, and John Gibson. Jonathan Quick isn’t going anywhere, but the Kings also have Ben Scrivens, Martin Jones, and Jean-Francois Berube. Those are two trade partners that Winnipeg must target to improve its goaltending. If it requires parting with a core player, whether it’s Wheeler, or Byfuglien or Evander Kane, so be it. Because so far, it’s not working in Winnipeg.
more hockey topics...
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Dustin Byfuglien will move from defence to forward as the Winnipeg Jets try to end a four-game winless streak.
Byfuglien practised in Blake Wheeler’s spot today, on the right wing alongside linemates Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd, where he’s expected to stay for Saturday night’s game against Columbus.
It’s an effort to shake up a lineup that produced just 14 shots in its last game and has given up 18 goals in its last four games.
“I don’t know if it’s desperate,” head coach Claude Noel said. “You’re trying to find ways to win. Dustin played last year a little bit up front, and was pretty hard to handle in some episodes of the game. He can be a guy that can have impact on the game.”
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Firing Noel at this stage won't accomplish much. This team doesn't have enough talent and it doesn't have strong leadership. A new coach alone won't make a difference.
Cheveldayoff has to break up the cartel leading these players. One of the big pieces needs to be removed via trade to augment any coaching change.
If a fresh perspective behind the bench is deemed the appropriate measure, it must be coupled with new accountability among the players. The big boys with the Winnipeg Jets don't push one another. They don't demand a high enough standard from within.
Take your pick. Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien or Blake Wheeler should be on the way out of town at the same time as Noel.
So fine, clip Noel. But fire the leadership group, too.
from Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun,
... instead of firing shot after shot after shot at the goaltender with one of the league’s worst save percentages, the Jets mustered only nine shots on goal through two periods and their only goals were courtesy of the power play. They ended up with a season low 14 shots.
The result was a 4-2 loss, a chorus of boos from the crowd as time expired and numerous Jets afterwards calling their team’s effort “embarrassing.”...
“They paid for their tickets,” Pavelec said. “They can do whatever they want, and we got what we deserved.”...
Pavelec actually felt bad for Jets fans.
“Tonight I did,” he said. “You can lose, but at least you have to show up. The fans want to see you play hard, and we just didn’t today. It’s disappointing, that’s for sure.”
Pavelec wasn’t done there.
“We have a day off tomorrow,” he said. “Actually, we had a day off today, so we had two days off.”
After Nail Yakupov scored with just under 4 minutes to go to make it 6-2 in favor of Edmonton against Winnipeg, this happened...
16:16 Winnipeg Dustin Byfuglien: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Chris Thorburn: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Edmonton Nail Yakupov: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Winnipeg Andrew Ladd: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Andrew Ladd: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Winnipeg Andrew Ladd: 2 minutes, cross checking
16:16 Winnipeg Zach Bogosian: 5 minutes, spearing
16:16 Winnipeg Bryan Little: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Bryan Little: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Edmonton Nail Yakupov: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Zach Bogosian: 10 minutes, game misconduct
You can watch it play-out below...
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Wheeler has been with this Thrashers/Jets organization for parts of four seasons. Long enough to know that comfort, complacency — call it what you want — can creep in like a mouse finding its way into your basement in the winter.
You don’t even know it’s there, at first.
Then you start finding the turds.
“It creeps in,” Wheeler said.
But not everywhere.
Some organizations seal up their rooms so tight, they keep it out.
“It wasn’t there in Boston,” the 27-year-old said. “Everyone felt like scratching and clawing every day, especially younger guys like myself and some other guys.”
Why are players like that in Boston and not in Winnipeg?
Start with team leadership.
In Boston and elsewhere, the core players simply don’t put up with any slacking. The peer pressure is enormous.
It’s safe to say the Jets don’t have that.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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