by PuckStopsHere on 01/12/14 at 05:09 PM ET
The Winnipeg Jets have fired coach Claude Noel today. He was the only head coach that the Jets have had since their return to the NHL. He was hired because he had been a successful AHL coach with the Manitoba Moose before the Jets returned to Winnipeg. He was a solid enough coach, but an unspectacular one. The problem is the Winnipeg Jets have not been a particularly successful team since their NHL return. They have never made the playoffs and don't look likely to do so this season. They currently have a 19-28 record with five regulation tie points. This is good for 43 points and third from last in the West Conference.
The problem in Winnipeg is a lack of talent. They have never had a player who was in the top 50 in the NHL in their return to the league and there doesn't appear to be one on the horizon. Probably the best player since their return to the NHL has been Dustin Byfuglien and he was not seen as good enough to make the US Olympic Team. It is hard to imagine this group of players being successful regardless of the coach.
Paul Maurice is the new coach who will try to make something out of this team. He is a veteran NHL coach who has proven himself to be acceptable but not spectacular as an NHL coach. Roughly he has the coaching abilities of Claude Noel. Maurice had a nine season stint as the Hartford Whaler/ Carolina Hurricane coach (the team moved during his stint). He was moderately successful. He lost in the Stanley Cup finals in 2002. The problem was he only made the playoffs three times during this coaching stint. He later coached for two years in Toronto without a playoff berth. In 2008/09 he was hired for another stint as Carolina Hurricane coach. He was fired in 2011/12. He had one playoff berth in his first season but none after it.
This is largely a lateral move for the Winnipeg Jets. I do not expect that it makes much of a difference over the long term. If there is a difference it may be a short term boost as players scramble to find their places in a new system. The problem with the Winnipeg jets is a lack of talent. A coaching change from Claude Noel to Paul Maurice will not change it.
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