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Winnipeg Jets Fire Coach Claude Noel

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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Bossy_Rules's avatar

I suspect that the coach makes very little difference.  I’m curious what you think about this.

I agree that Winnipeg’s biggest problem is a lack of talent but I disagree that they need a top 50 player.  Their top 2 lines are good.  It’s their bottom two lines that are really really weak.  Read this and see if you agree with it :


Posted by Bossy_Rules on 01/12/14 at 04:59 PM ET

Alan's avatar

When you operate like a bargain basement team, you’ll get bargain basement personnel. That was the formula in Atlanta, and nothing has changed.

You can take the Thrashers out of Atlanta, but you can’t take the Atlanta out of the Jets.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/12/14 at 05:10 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

+1 Alan.  It was so frustrating watching the Thrashers fail to improve (I think their fate as a franchise was sealed when Dany Heatley wrecked his Ferrari) year after year (and ultimately leave).  Even firing Don Waddell wasn’t enough to exorcise the Ghost of the Thrashers.

I’m afraid they’ll have to suck Edmonton-style for a couple of years to really become a contender.  And I’m not sure if current management is good enough to build a winner, even with a bunch of high draft picks.  Waddell certainly wasn’t.

Posted by Savage Henry on 01/12/14 at 05:47 PM ET

Laran's avatar

How exactly do they act like a bargain basement team…

One of the highest payrolls.
Rewards developed prospects with fair long-term deals.
Great owners who stay out of the spotlight.
Since coming to Winnipeg they’ve drafted well.

Improving takes time, especially with how bad Atlanta was.
Some people like to live in the past I guess….

Posted by Laran on 01/12/14 at 05:54 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Some people like to live in the past I guess….

If I lived “in the past” as you say, I would still be celebrating repeat Stanley cup wins.

Higher payroll sure, but take a look at the performance. This team is playing just as well as it did in Atlanta. Tell me how this team is different now compared to three years ago? All you can say is “new owners” and “Winnipeg”.

Same crap, different day.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/12/14 at 06:06 PM ET

Laran's avatar

Well there’s no doubt they’re struggling but I’m not sure you understand what a “bargain basement team” refers to.

NYI, Florida.  Those are “bargain basement” teams.

Teams you expect to finish near the bottom because they have to nickel and dime just to stay afloat.

Posted by Laran on 01/12/14 at 06:16 PM ET

Mr. Fnytelhatt's avatar

I’m afraid they’ll have to suck Edmonton-style for a couple of years to really become a contender.

Posted by Savage Henry on 01/12/14 at 05:47 PM ET

Although perhaps “sucking Chicago-style” is as of yet a better example, seeing as, for all their sucking, the Oilers have yet to unsuck.

Posted by Mr. Fnytelhatt on 01/12/14 at 07:39 PM ET

Alan's avatar

NYI, Florida.  Those are “bargain basement” teams.

You seem to have a little trouble understanding what a simile is.

I said they operate *like* one. I never said they *are* one. There’s a significant difference.

They have overpaid for middling free agents, and have overpaid guys they got from Atlanta. We can argue whether it was necessary for them to do so, but they have/ 

Whether any of the middling players or Atlanta guys ever reach their potential in Winnipeg is beyond me. I’m in the IT business, not a Psychic Hotline operator, so I am ill equipped in regards to predicting the future.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/12/14 at 07:59 PM ET


The new Jets are de ja vu all over again for fans that followed them north.
  1)Mantra is to build through the draft
  2)Search waiver wire for diamonds
  3)Sign older free agents
  4)Pay through the nose for core players

Until mgmt. makes some significant player changes this team won’t so much as “sniff” the play-offs for a long time.  (No matter who the coach is.)

Posted by HookyBob on 01/13/14 at 05:32 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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