Jets take time to reflect
ON the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Claude Noel took a pause in memory of veterans fallen before. His father was in the Second World War, the head coach said, though it wasn't just personal connection that urged him to observe a moment of silence.
"You gotta find the time out of respect," he said, speaking shortly after Monday morning's optional skate. "I made a note of it for our players, for all of us to try to take some time. We talked about it today."
Riding a high
THE Jets hopped a plane for Michigan on Monday afternoon, and they go in riding a high. They've won three of their last four games, but let that not erase the fact they lost three of the four tilts before that. Still, confidence is built on momentum as much as historical trends, and the Jets head coach said the key is to figure out how to work with that.
"Now we're in this thing, so how can we use this in a positive light?" Noel said.
"I think you have to stay focused on dealing with the process, and not dealing with the outcome of things. I'd like us to go into Detroit with a mindset of expecting to win. That's a little bit of a large comment, especially from where we've come from, but I mean that in the context of building on the confidence we've built within ourselves... Going in with that mindset, and putting our best foot forward."
Attack shows spark
IF you ignore the Jets' power-play woes -- and that's a stretch to do, we know -- the Jets' offence has definitely been jumping more lately. They've scored 14 goals in the last four games, a pace they hadn't managed in any other four-game set this season. No real tactical changes, Noel said, it's just that things are going in.
"You know how goals go, you can continue to do the same thing and then you go dry, so we'll ride it when we can," he said.
Still, the coach said he's seen players getting to the net better, and making goalies work harder. And they're getting shots on target.
"There's a point there where we looked at numbers in the league, our numbers weren't great at either getting it blocked, or always missing the net," he said. "Well, we're a little bit better at getting that. So it's either an awareness, or finally enough preaching about it that people are recognizing that these things can help."
Again, maybe that just comes back to the good ol' "confidence" buzzword.
"When things are going well, and things are going in for you, you tend to shoot more, try and get more pucks to the net," said Bryan Little, whose line accounted for 13 of the Jets' 46 shots against the Sharks. "Good things are happening, so that's what we're doing."
Little did agree coaches have been stressing generating a high volume of shots.
"We're not one of those teams that's going to go out and make pretty plays, and try and dipsy-doodle," he said. "(Coach Noel) doesn't want that, and we know that doesn't work all the time... we're not looking for the pretty goals right now. We're just looking to get some traffic, and get some ugly ones."
Chevy a stats guy
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was at the PrimeTime sports management conference in Toronto on Monday, speaking at a session on advanced statistics in sports. Though so-called "fancy stats" have a robust number of followers among analysts and fans, NHL teams have kept their interest (or lack thereof) close to the vest.
Well, count the Jets among the parties breaking down the big numbers. According to ESPN hockey writer Craig Custance, who was at the conference, Cheveldayoff told the panel audience that the Jets "are very interested in it, we use it to a great extent as a resource." According to Custance, Cheveldayoff added that one challenge with using advanced stats is data collection is not uniform across the league.