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Jets' boss 'very pleased' with new head coach

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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Winnipeg Jets chairman Mark Chipman weighed in for the first time on Tuesday on the undefeated performance of his team under new head coach Paul Maurice.

"Obviously, very pleased," Chipman told reporters at Honda Center prior to his team's morning skate."

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"I think it's a step in the right direction. Paul seems to have settled in very well and stepping into that situation is a difficult one and I think he's managed it very, very well. I'm very pleased with the job he's done so far."

It was Chipman's first public comments on the state of his team since former head coach Claude Noel was fired on Jan. 12 and replaced by Maurice, who was 3-0 since taking over as Jets head coach heading into the game Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks.

 

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Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau had a lot of experience coaching against Maurice when the former was behind the bench in Washington and the latter was coaching in Toronto and Carolina.

This is what Boudreau had to say on Tuesday about Maurice-coached teams. "I expect them to play hard. There's no doubt in my mind all (Maurice's teams) -- whether it was Toronto or Carolina -- played real hard.

"As to the style of play he plays, it's an in-your-face, man-on-man type deal, unless he's changed it a little bit."

 

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Winkler's Dustin Penner was a healthy scratch versus the Jets Tuesday, but Boudreau said overall he has been happy with Penner's play for Anaheim this season.

Signed July 16, 2013 as a free agent by the Ducks after two-plus seasons with the Kings in L.A., Penner has spent a lot of time this season playing left wing on Anaheim's top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, notching 11 goals and 15 assists in 40 games and not looking out of place most nights.

That's a huge improvement over the two goals and 12 assists Penner generated in 33 games with the Kings last season. And while Penner's gone through scoring droughts this season, he's also had a five-game points streak and a career-long six-game points streak, plus two game-winning goals and two two-goal games.

"He's been good," said Boudreau. "Early on, he might have been a little not ready in camp. He's been good for that big line -- he really compliments it well. I've been happy with his play. He's plus-18 or something (actually plus-19), he's got 11 goals. He went through a little scoring drought but that didn't mean he wasn't playing well.

"He's been a real good addition."

 

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Boudreau was blunt in assessing the state of Teemu Selanne's game these days.

"You know what -- it's mediocre. He's not 24 anymore," Boudreau said. "He is 43, he's started to score recently. He's got seven (goals) now, but he plays as hard as he always has and he's great in the room with the guys.

"You know, when you get older, sometimes your roles really change. And I think he is a guy people look at at practice and see how hard he works and see what kind of guy he is in the room."

The former Jet and NHL rookie of the year will once again represent Finland at the Winter Olympics next month, which got a laugh out of Jets forward -- and fellow Finn -- Olli Jokinen, who's also going to Sochi.

Selanne is going to his sixth Olympics, while Jokinen will be going to his fourth -- begging the obvious question.

"Most likely that's the last time (for Selanne and Jokinen at the Olympics)," said Jokinen, 35. "But you never know. We say that in 2006, too. And then in 2010, we say, 'That's it, that's our last time.'"

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 22, 2014 ??65533

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