Winnipeg Jets Fans – Relax It’s About Patience

Winnipeg Jets And The Trade Deadline —

With so much happening this week, I’m postponing a blog where I’ll be depending on some interaction with my Twitter buddies for content.

Instead with Trade Deadline a thing of the past, I decided to fire out A Dozen Thoughts in 12 Minutes.

With apologies to Elliot Friedman … 😉

1)  It isn’t a trade but of ultimate importance to some fans of the Winnipeg Jets is coach Paul Maurice and his contract status.  He is waiting to see the end of the season before committing to the Jets in a long-term way.  In return, Jets are getting a full look at Maurice and aren’t making an emotion-driven decision due to some early success.  This is all sensible and something not always seen with NHL decision-makers.

Paul Maurice

Paul Maurice                       image by Shawn Coates

2)  Maurice may well be keeping options open due to his family being in Columbus or maybe as he has this incredible relationship with the Carolina Hurricanes where he has been hired twice (Hartford before their move to Carolina the first time) and fired twice as head coach.

3)  To harp back to Carolina, Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos was the owner of the junior team that gave Maurice his initial shot at coaching.  After a couple of years of Ontario Hockey League success with the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, it was Karmanos (owner of the Hartford Whalers at the time) who took him directly to the NHL in 1995 as head coach.  He lasted through their move to Carolina until the 2003-2004 season only to be hired again in 2008 for a couple of years.  There is obviously more than the usual coach-team relationship due to ownership and management.

4)  A few places may need a coach by the summer.  The recent events in Buffalo with the President Pat Lafontaine quitting just shows you a smidgen of what one can expect in an NHL organization.  Maurice has been around so knows how to protect his reputation and career.  This isn’t a knock on True North Sports Entertainment just an acknowledgement of smart people making good decisions.

5)  At the same time, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff gets a chance to see the complete package Maurice brings as there was no interaction before the phone calls a few days before he dumped Claude Noel.  So the Jets benefit as well.  Coach Paul has done a great job but there are many steps he must overcome before Chevy can KNOW he’s the man and this time allows that.  Less chance of a mistake and Chevy can go long-term easier with more information..

6)  For all of Paul Maurice’s magic and he’s definitely had a short-term effect, his career Points percentage is .505.  In 15 NHL seasons, he’s made the playoffs 4 times.  There are plenty of theories for that  record but can you blame Cheveldayoff waiting particularly as he went outside the group of people he has extensive knowledge on?

7)  Ondrej Pavelec has got hot right at the wrong time for anyone hoping for him to be replaced.  I’m still hoping for a “quietness” to consistently emerge in his game but Jets definitely need his best game to get the Jets to the playoffs.  He has been the main guy responsible for a few of the wins under Maurice when they were dominate.  So while everyone is talking about the Jets great new commitment to defence, I think they are out to lunch.  There’s been improvement in some games for sure and they are better than with Noel but FAR from playing great defensive hockey on a consistent basis.

8)  Jets unrestricted free-agents were a bone of contention among Jets fandom before the deadline.  One side was telling Chevy to either sign our UFA’s, or trade them for draft picks or young prospects.  It’s called asset management.  So it’s easy, right?  Well, not so fast.   It is the third year in Winnipeg and I heard a lot of fans saying that Cheveldayoff “owes them” a playoff run.  When I appealed to Chevy’s plan (the future), they didn’t want to hear about it.  They wanted Chevy buying.  So, two points of contention with the Jets only having a “shot” at the playoffs; hovering around the 20% mark according to sportsclubstats.com

9)  As you probably know by now, Chevy did neither by sticking to … umm… the no-move-is-a-good-move part of his plan.  This may partially appease the “buyer” fans as he didn’t sell off the UFA’s but likely displeased most asset managers.  Chevy also had the fact Mark Scheifele’s MCL strain takes him out for the rest of the year, or close to it, to deal with.  I wonder if any vultures were circling to “help” out and offer a replacement for Scheifele.

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Mark Stuart (5). SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Mark Stuart                  image by Shawn Coates

10)  Cheveldayoff held a press conference 50 minutes after the trade deadline and started off by proudly announcing the signing of True Grit Mark Stuart.  I was expecting the signing after a Gary Lawless article that described him as indispensable and a must signing.  I know how it works. But 4 years, 10.5 million dollars!  I wasn’t expecting that part obviously as when I first read the $/years part I snorted some spring water through my nose.  I like Stu for his courage and physical game.  Obviously, he’s a leader and role model and important to a kid like Jacob Trouba.  I was surprised at the term and dollars though because he is at best a 3rd-pair defenceman on a good, contending hockey club.  While the Jets aren’t there yet, I’m hoping Kevin Cheveldayoff will acquire that legit top-4 defenceman this summer and allow Stuart to return to a 3rd-pair role.  We are still waiting for Chevy’s first player for player trade.

11)  All-in-all, its business as usual with the Jets.  Its all about patience whether signing a new coach long-term or making a player for player trade.  Someday, we hope they both happen.  Its sort of eerie being different. 🙂

12)  An even dozen thoughts brings Jets fans a reminder.  You could have a Garth Snow as GM doing damage without penalty to himself it seems.  I played against the mighty 80’s Islanders and wow they still remain so powerful in my memories.  Islander fans must be struggling to not lose their minds today.  

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