Paul Maurice: First Impression Good Enough For The Winnipeg Jets?

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not a fan of firing coaches during the season but I guess 5 losses in a row for the Winnipeg Jets is more than Kevin Cheveldayoff could handle.  I still believe that it wasn’t Claude Noel’s fault for the struggles, but he is the bench boss and they had lost 5 in a row, so I guess something had to be done.  Paul Maurice could be a breath of fresh air for the Jets.

The Jets played well against the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first period but after the Blue Jackets scored shorthanded everything fell apart.  The Jets were running around, giving the puck up, both defensemen were caught behind their own goal, they were getting muscled off the puck at every turn.

Ondrej Pavelec was left in the cold again and again, mostly because of simple fundamental mistakes these guys would have been taught in peewee.  If an NHL coach has to tell NHL defensemen not to chase puck carriers behind the net together, that’s not a system or an identity or coaching problem, that’s a player making a mistake.

These mistakes cost the Jets goals, which in turn, cost them 5 losses in a row, and eventually cost Noel his job.

The problems snowballed into goals against in bunches and if Noel could be blamed at all it would be for not being emotional enough behind the bench.  This is kind of ironic that the Jets would panic the last few games when they got a goal scored on them considering how calm Noel was behind the Jets’ bench most times.

No one can teach a player not to make a bad pass once in a while, it happens, or coughing up the puck from someone out muscling you, it happens.  It just seemed that every mistake ended up in the Jets’ net lately.

If that’s a coaching problem then he deserved to be fired, but I don’t think that’s a coaching problem.  You can’t fire 20 players, so hopefully Paul Maurice comes in and gives the Jets the confidence to make fewer mistakes.

Perry Pearn has also been let go and I’m not sure if Maurice has someone in mind to be his assistant and what plans he has for Charlie Huddy, who has remained with the club, but Maurice has his work cut out for him.

This is a young team and I was hoping they would out grow the mistakes and start making strides to become a playoff team.

It’s funny, because the Jets were 8 points back of a playoff spot before the 5 losses in a row, and they currently sit 10 back.  They still have a chance to sneak in there and I hope Maurice can get them to start winning consistently.  These guys were playing like they were skating on egg shells.  They were mesmerized by the puck, watching instead of initiating.  This team is pretty good and if they play at their potential they can make the playoffs, they may not go anywhere this year but just making the playoffs would be a huge achievement and a good teaching tool the next time they make the playoffs.  And with the talent coming up, this team could be a contender in the next couple of years.

I heard from former player and now TSN analyst Aaron Ward  and he has a huge amount of respect for Maurice.  Ward said everyone listens when Maurice speaks and has a great knack for dissecting a team’s problems and correcting them.  Ward thinks it’s a great move for the Jets organization and Maurice seems extremely excited to get back into the NHL again.  Maybe this could be a turning point, who knows, only time will tell.  Maurice didn’t have much time to put his stamp on the team as he arrived late Sunday night against the Phoenix Coyotes but we’ll see how things go in the coming few weeks.  A 5-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes is a great start.  The Jets played very good the entire game.

Maurice said he liked their speed coupled with the Jets’ size and he is excited about getting to work with that as they move forward.  You can see the excitement in his face after the game and the potential this team has.  Maurice said the reason he took the job was because he saw this team dominate at times and they’re so young and it has him very motivated.  It was a great start, let’s hope they can keep it up and make a run at a playoff spot.

We’ll see if Cheveldayoff plans on making any player changes in the next few weeks.  Cheveldayoff did say that he didn’t think he gave Noel enough to be successful, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.  Making trades in this league is not easy with the salary cap in place.  If they don’t win under Maurice, it could be next, but I highly doubt we’re going to see the Jets give up any draft picks if the management staff feels they can’t take a run at the cup.  It’ll have to be a hell of a deal, and those don’t happen very often anymore.

Topics: Winnipeg Jets

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