Mar 1, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd (16) and center Bryan Little (18) try to control the puck against the Nashville Predators during the hockey game at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd Brewing Trouble In Winnipeg Jets' Dressing Room

It’s the last thing the Winnipeg Jets need at this point in the year, but some of their players on their top line have extra drama on their plate, all after an off-hand conversation earlier in the week.

Jan 13, 2014; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice speaks with forwards Andrew Ladd (16) and Bryan Little (18) during the first period against the Phoenix Coyotes at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports


The trouble began after the Jets’ loss to the Dallas Stars on Monday, a game in which the teams’ captain, Andrew Ladd, missed the game due to the birth of his second child.

His absence sparked a minor controversy among Jets’ fans, highlighted by this tweet from Troy Westwood:


However, that was not the main part of the story. Bryan Little started the firestorm with this remark to local newspaper reporter Kirk Penton:

“We were joking around before that only in Winnipeg someone would say negative comments about the birth of a child, then I heard someone actually did. I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not.”

Head coach Paul Maurice made an innocent comment on congratulating the teams’ captain once the team returns back to Winnipeg:

“There’ll be some decent cigars passed out when we get back to Canada. They don’t seem to have that tradition here with the Winnipeg Jets, I’ll try to start one, but we’ll see how that goes”

Although Little’s comment stings back home in Manitoba, it’s hard to argue the truth. Rather than taking it as an attack on themselves, Jets’ fans need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Yes, it’s true that the “Army doesn’t come home” however, anyone who works a 9-5 would definitely be missing out, to see their new child at the earliest chance.

Ladd called his choice “an easy decision”, and it should be. Realistically, Monday was the best time for Ladd to make the pilgrimage back to Winnipeg, with the Jets starting a five-game road trip that night. With no family in the city, any father can understand the impact he would have had on his wife. Many of us, myself included, cannot.

However, with hindsight being 20/20, the team played well without their captain. Mark Stuart, Olli Joikenen, and on that night, Blake Wheeler, have more than enough leadership to keep the Jets motivated and focused on the target. Although that night didn’t end with a win, the controversy shouldn’t have lasted any longer than a few hours.

With the entire episode seemingly behind us, it is time to focus on the final stretch: it seems that Ladd will have lots of time for his family after April 11th, anyway.


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