EDMONTON – They’ve run out of excuses and are weary of doing the looking-in-the-mirror thing. And while rock bottom might yet come for the Winnipeg Jets, Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers nonetheless brought out a passionate response afterward from two of the club’s leaders.
First, we give you assistant captain Mark Stuart who, a good 30 minutes after the loss, looked mad enough to punch a few holes in the wall of the Jets’ dressing room.
Asked where the emotion came from – the Jets ended the game taking 61 minutes in penalties in the final four minutes after a skirmish following the Oilers’ sixth goal — Stuart said:
"Is that a serious question? We were embarrassing ourselves. We were losing 6-2. God, I hope there would be some emotion or else you’ve got real issues.
"It’s the same old story. It’s just consistency and we haven’t been able to find it all year. It’s one good game and then we take a break. I don’t have a whole lot for you tonight. It’s pretty self-explanatory, I think.
"Write whatever you want and don’t take it easy on us because we don’t deserve it."
The Jets fell to 16-18-5 with the loss, their second straight after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Vancouver. But it was the manner in which they lost – too many turnovers to count and a number of defensive zone breakdowns – that had everyone in a sour mood.
"It’s the same old s--- game aver game. I guess frustrating doesn’t begin to describe it," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. "We know what it is, we talk about it all the time. It’s the same thing over and over again. A team like this, you know they have a lot of offensive guys that can hurt you… you don’t want to put them on the power play and you don’t want to turn the puck over and give them chances off the rush. And we did both those things."
Ladd finished the game in the dressing room after taking 14 minutes in penalties – minors for cross-checking and slashing and a 10-minute misconduct – after getting into it with Oilers forward Nail Yakupov following the Russian’s sixth goal of the season and Edmonton’s sixth goal of the night. Earlier in the game Yakupov threw a forearm at goaltender Ondrej Pavelec’s head after missing a chance – a play that was missed by the officials but stuck with the Jets.
"I wasn’t happy with him throwing a forearm at our goalie’s head," said Ladd. "That’s pretty much it. If he wants to do that, he’ll have some stuff to deal with."
Zach Bogosian received a five-minute major for spearing and game misconduct, Bryan Little was handed a misconduct and a two-minute slashing penalty, Stuart picked up a 10-minute misconduct and Chris Thorburn was also handed a 10-minute misconduct with 3:44 remaining – all coming at the face-off following Yakupov’s goal.
How do the Jets make this right? Here’s Stuart:
"It’s just doing the right things. It’s caring, I think, every night that you play the right way. It’s not that we don’t care, but when you don’t play the right way you’re letting your teammates down."