Winnipeg Jets Paul Maurice: King of LIFE

The Crowning of Paul Maurice –

Hi, my name is Scott and I once enjoyed a championship in Winnipeg, riding in a nice car in a victory parade with a huge bunch of people cheering for me and our team after our WHA Championship win.  Let’s call it the Avco Cup.  🙂

Thirty-five and half years later, I still cheer for this Winnipeg team even though they disappeared on me (and most of you) for a while.

So thinking  old-school … amazingly enough a man who I have followed since the 90’s in Ontario, Mr. Paul Maurice, showed up in Winnipeg last year taking over from the disaster that Claude Noel had going with the current Jets, the 2.0 ones, even though Noel “knows the game”.

The Jets weren’t buying into Noel’s plan which led to people like Gary Lawless teeing off on the “Atlanta Core” for their lack of … whatever it was he was yakking about that day.  I was suspicious too but wanted to see more, just as I had only seen a small number of games, and even wanted to give Claude Noel some extra games when many were calling for his head.

Paul Maurice

Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice

I have no such problem with Paul Maurice.  I have watched the teams he’s coached for almost 20 years (since OHL).  Due to his age, I had tried to see what magic this kid had in his early days, and from that point on.  Then last year after over a 1,000 games and a coaching record of just over .500, he dropped in to save the Jets.  It wasn’t like Scotty Bowman dropped in but it had to be better than the quizzically speaking Noel, who not only fooled the opposition, but also his own club and many fans with his wit.  👿

Varied discussions have happened but one thing that rings true is Paul Maurice has the ear of the Jets players and they are doing their best to abide by HIM.

And when I type HIM in caps, it’s sort of the feeling I get from so many Jets fans that he’s God-like.  (Actually I have read those words).

Part of this may have come from GM Kevin Cheveldayoff last summer when he was adamant that the biggest addition by far that he had made in the summer was re-signing Maurice.  Which made me a bit ill because resigning a .500 coach isn’t necessarily as valuable as signing a player like Perrault.  Yea, #85.

Putting all the pressure on PM was unfair but that’s just me.  I’d always thought he was a decent coach, not great.

So far this year, Mr. Maurice has been a STUD in getting this group to play as a team and produce.   They are what they are, not riding “good luck”, a playoff team hopefully with FOUR important guys and a heart and soul guy joining them soon.

I’ve had many twitter discussions about PoMo’s past.  He has been stubborn beyond belief at times, to me and many others.  It now SEEMS he has learned from the past and I’m hoping that year in the KHL made him realize  the “new game”even more.  I did predict on twitter he’d change the rotation and run with Hutch a bit after the 5-1 win in Chicago.  That it happened makes me feel good about that moving forward. 😎

One last thing I know about Paul Maurice, and to me, the MOST important of all in life …

ferguson

Winnipeg Jets G.M. John Ferguson photo courtesy of curtiswalker.com

Years ago, I attended the visitation and funeral of a very good friend of mine, former Jets GM John Ferguson, who helped me for many years during and after hockey.  Yes we sometimes met at the racetrack.  🙂  

I drove quite a way to pay my respects to the Ferguson family and in particular to see his daughter Chris as she and I had hung out in the Peg a bit and again later in Windsor with racehorses (and horses asses like me) after that.  🙂

At the visitation, I naturally crossed paths with Chrissy’s brother John Ferguson Jr who at the time was the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I hadn’t seen John Jr for a long time and during our conversation he had some glowing things to say about the Leafs Head Coach at the time, Mr. Paul Maurice, who joined him at the visitation and funeral.  In fact, he described him as being a terrific friend and had been unbelievably supportive of John Jr through this tough period.

Then I met Paul Maurice and after a polite introduction and a few words the impact of what John Jr had said about Mr. Maurice stuck with me.  I really like that and pretty sure True North Sports Entertainment does too.

So he has all of this good-will in the bank, in a safe, due to the terrific job he has done getting the Jets to play in a structured system, and sticking to it. Maurice has also shown an increasing willingness to adapt much to the benefit of the Jets. Maurice may never need to draw on that good-will, as in giving him extra time to work things out, if the ship starts leaking badly.  But, it’s there if needed in my bank anyway.

As for today, King Paul has a nice ring.

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Comments

  1. Greg Polinchuk says

    A terrific column. Even if we disregard the valuable hockey insight and the personal experiences described, it is simply a fantastically smooth, conversational read. An excellent piece of writing.

  2. Scott Campbell says

    Thanks Greg. I appreciate your kind comments.

  3. Scott Campbell, could you email me for a personal question answered? Thanks. A HUGE Winnipeg Jets fan!

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