Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice has brought the fun and games at his team’s practice to an abrupt end.
Jets forward Olli Jokinen said today that the goofing around that went on during Jets practice under the previous Claude Noel regime has ended abruptly since Maurice took over as the team’s head coach last Sunday.
"He’s very demanding," Jokinen said following Jets practice at MTS Centre today. "This is not a knock on Claude, he was demanding too. But at the same time, there’s different ways to coach. With Claude, it wasn’t like he was doing something wrong here. It was more that maybe his message didn’t go through.
"And now you have a new set of eyes watching you. And you see a lot of guys paying attention, there’s no screwing around between the drills. You see a lot of bobbleheads out there -- guys are nodding and listening. And that’s usually what happens for the first week when there’s a new coach.
"He wants us to do everything fast. He wants us to pass the puck hard. This is the National Hockey League... and you should be able to do those things automatically. And that’s what he wants us to do -- start doing it in practice. And once you start doing those little things in practice right, it’s going to be automatic in the games."
Once again today, Jets practice was conducted at blistering speed and by a head coach in Maurice who has demonstrated quite clearly this week that he is unafraid to raise his voice and employ "colourful language" on the ice in pointing out mistakes and making clear to his players what he wanted.
"I learned that," Maurice quipped this morning, "from my wife."
The Jets travel this afternoon to Calgary, where they will play the Flames Thursday night.
Maurice said injured Jets forward Evander Kane has a deep cut on his hand that has yet to heal and will definitely not be making the Calgary trip. Maurice said forward Devin Setoguchi -- who also didn’t practice today -- is sick and it’s unlikely he will make the trip this afternoon, although no final decision had yet been made.
Rookie forward Eric O’Dell, who has two goals in the last two games, practiced in Setoguchi’s spot on a line with Jokinen and Byfuglien today.
Meanwhile, injured Jets defenceman Paul Postma practiced for the first time with his teammates this morning since he was sidelined Oct. 27 with a blood clot in his calf.
Postma said after practice that he’s still got a couple days left of taking blood thinners and he is probably at least still a week away from actually being game-ready.
Postma said doctors never did definitively determined what caused the clot, but speculated it might have had something to do with the frequent air travel he does as an NHLer. Postma said he will have to be careful once he returns to the lineup and begins flying again.
"When I fly I will have to wear compression stockings on my legs from now. I can’t be seated for more than hour at a time. I have to get up and walk around. Just little stuff like that -- I have to take an aspirin when I fly just to thin my blood a little bit.
"So those are things I will have to do in the future for awhile."