Monday, January 13, 2014

Jets dismiss Noel and Pearn bring in Paul Maurice to turn around season gone wrong

Sunday's decision to remove Claude Noel from his position and along with him his trusted assistant Perry Pearn, most likely was not much of a surprise to anyone in River City.

The rumblings of discontent of a season that has clearly run off the rails had been heard since November, still whenever any coach loses a job, the departure tends to leave more questions than answers.

The tipping point for the dismissal of Noel it appears was Saturday night's 6 to 3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team with a record of 21-20-4 somewhat similar to that of the Jets. On Saturday night however, the Blue Jackets appeared to be channeling the Edmonton Oilers of their Stanley Cup era. While the Jets stumbled around like the Jets of the baddest of the bad old days, seemingly trying to get their coach fired. Which as the night evolved should have called for a Mission Accomplished banner to be raised to the MTS Centre roof.

In the case of the Jets, it's the unknown reasons as to why Noel seemingly had lost his team that still leave many puzzled. In the end he was unable to coax a reliable standard of play from his players through the season, the never ending inconsistency finally moved General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to look for a new voice in the dressing room and behind the bench.

The new voice, is an old name most recently associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Jets turn Paul Maurice, who has been spending part of his recent between jobs time as a hockey analyst. Which perhaps gives him at least a general overview of the woes of Winnipeg and how to solve them.

It's interesting that the Jets have chosen a former Maple Leaf head coach, though there is a rather large pool of available subjects with that CV with perhaps more to be added before this season is out.

Maurice, had a fair bit of success coaxing the best out of the version of the Maple Leaf roster of his day, though in the end, the Leafs were the Leafs and Maurice found himself departing from the building, like so many had before him (and after).

The high mark of his resume can still be found from his days in Carolina, where the managed to get the Hurricanes to the Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2002. Ten years later, Jets fans can only dream of a day when the semi-finals are in reach, a winning streak most likely would suffice for now and the promise that maybe things are going to go in the right direction soon.

Still if the Jets were to go to the Maple Leaf coaching mill, one wonders if they gave Ron Wilson a call?  Word earlier this month had it that the former Leafs coach and Stanley Cup winning coach from Anaheim was looking to return to the coaching ranks.

And while the Winnipeg media might not have been thrilled at what that might have provided for content, the Jets could perhaps have benefited from his approach to coaching and the required wake up call for their player personnel.

Far too may nights this season they left Noel exasperated behind the bench. Scoring opportunities were wasted, with defensive play sloppy and the goaltenders all but abandoned at times, a lack of focus seemingly was the standard of late. That is part a coaching problem yes, but it also indicates that the GM has perhaps not provided the core group required for any coach to succeed.

After a few years now in the Manitoba capital, the Jets still seem a lot like the Thrahsers, though the crowds are clearly a lot larger and much more knowledgeable.

The Jets have been a mysterious group over the last few seasons, with the mulligan of a free year of euphoria of the return of the NHL to Winnipeg behind them, expectations of the fairly astute hockey fans of Manitoba were that some progress would be made this season.

The excuse of a lock out year lost no longer acceptable, for many this was to be a break out year for Winnipeg, instead it seems as though perhaps it may be a break up year instead.

The first of the breaks arrives with the coach that took over the reins when the Jets relocated to Manitoba from Georgia.

The short term goal for Maurice we imagine is to reverse the current atmosphere of losing with the Jets, with a playoff shot something that Jets fans we imagine still have desires to achieve.

Mr. Cheveldayoff suggested that a longer term for Paul Maurice may be discussed sooner than later, though we imagine one eye will be focused on the Maple Leafs and the twists and turns of their season.

Keep in  mind that Randy Carlyle has strong ties with Winnipeg from his playing days and from his time as an AHL coach, in the end, should his time come to a conclusion in Toronto, he may be the Maple Leaf coach that the Jets are pining for.

Mr. Maurice may wish to take some of the advice, that all players receive whenever they get traded, wait and see if it's going to work out before you buy a house, his position in Winnipeg may just be a transitory one, depending on how things evolve both in Winnipeg and elsewhere.

Likewise for rookie GM Cheveldayoff, while he has the benefit of long term contract extension in his pocket, once you've changed the coach and some of the roster, if the wins don't come there's only one more place for ownership to look.

And if they're looking to the Leafs for their stockpile, they also feature a long list of former GM"s, though considering their success in Toronto over the years,  one were not sure that is the best template to consider for success to.

January 13-- New Jets coach Maurice not sure what to expect in tonight's game
January 13-- 'Feels like a bit of a fresh start': Bogosian
January 13-- Players feel 'entirely responsible' for firing
January 13-- Reading between the lines
January 13-- New Jets coach Maurice already on familiar ground
January 13-- Jets new head coach Paul Maurice sees potential, challenges
January 12-- The quote machine has been shut down in Winnipeg
January 12-- Winnipeg Jets fire Claude Noel, hire Paul Maurice
January 12-- Ex-Hurricanes players expect Maurice to thrive as coach of Jets
January 12 -- Jets not trending in right direction: Chevy
January 12-- 'The way things were going... it wasn't going'
January 12-- Coaches tried their best, Jokinen says
January 12-- Jets fire Noel, hire Paul Maurice
January 12-- Jets fire Claude Noel, hire Paul Maurice
January 12-- Did Chevy do enough to help Noel succeed?
January 12-- Shocked Jets know they will be next to pay price
January 12-- New Jets coach Maurice already on familiar ground
January 12-- Fans split on nixing Noel
January 12-- Noel likeable and engagine, but didn't get most out of Jets

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