Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
For Jets, second half simple as ABC
Team needs to start slamming foes in face
NEW YORK — It is time for the Winnipeg Jets to close the deal.
In the world of sales, the first step is getting in the door and the second is getting the sale.
As Alec Baldwin’s character Blake said in Glengarry Glen Ross, "A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing."
This must be the motto for the Jets the rest of the way. They have done enough to date, building a 12-11-1 record, to sit just one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Now they must go beyond and live up to their potential.
The questions Winnipeg has to ask its Jets are simple: What are you? Another loser or a new winner? In the playoffs, or out?
The Jets alone can define themselves, and the next 24 games provides them with the opportunity.
They’ve stuck a foot in the door and introduced themselves. Now it’s time to make their pitch and get the deal.
The Jets will embark on the second half of their 2013 season tonight when they visit the New Jersey Devils, finding themselves within reach of a playoff berth.
Now they need to close. Win games and get above the playoff border and then stay there.
It’s time for this group that is so often referred to as "young and talented" to make a step toward maturity. If not, maybe it’s time to reconsider the value of some of the assets. Expensive seeds aren’t worth their weight if they never produce a crop.
Winnipeg has won two of the first three games of this four-game road trip, but cannot be satisfied with a .500 journey. Not if they’re going to be more than just potential. Now is the time to get greedy and get that third win.
To push for more and leave satisfaction to others. It’s a moment for hunger and drive and ambition. Not contentment.
Jets coach Claude Noel treats his team like men. Giving them rest and optional skates and a long leash often reserved for veteran teams. It’s time the players live up to this level of trust and perform with consistency.
Noel doesn’t have an elite roster on his hands, but the Jets have shown they can win when they implement the coach’s plan. When they go rogue and put individualism in from of team, they lose.
They’re not good enough, as Noel says, "to win easy," and the next step won’t be easy.
It will require dedication and discipline. Things the Jets have been unable to provide on a consistent basis.
Sooner or later the incorrigible kid’s act grows old. It’s time to be men. Will they close? Who knows? Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has 15 players with contracts coming to an end this season and certainly he’ll be weighing which he’ll want to extend.
Maybe it’s time Cheveldayoff borrows from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.
"As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado," said Baldwin’s Blake. "Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired."
Talk about motivation.
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About Gary Lawless
Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.
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