Six-pack of coaches
AND with that, Chris Thorburn has his sixth head coach in his six-plus seasons in the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers organization.
The Jets forward could only shake his head Monday morning as he pondered the head-coaching revolving door that has spun almost endlessly in the organization since he joined the Thrashers in 2007-08.
That door spun yet again on Sunday when Claude Noel was fired and replaced by Paul Maurice. Thorburn was asked if it all gets old, tiring or frustrating being part of an organization with such chronic instability at the top.
"I guess a little bit of everything," he said. "Any time a new guy comes in, it's the same -- you have to go out and show him what you've got, I guess. Sometimes a change is good, but ultimately it reflects how your team is performing and I've been part of all those teams."
Thorburn went through two head coaches in his first season in Atlanta -- Bob Hartley and Don Waddell. That was followed by two seasons with John Anderson behind the Atlanta bench, followed by one final season in Atlanta with Craig Ramsay at the helm. Noel, of course, took over behind the bench when the Jets moved to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season and he lasted until Sunday morning, when he was relieved and replaced by Maurice.
Meanwhile, Mark Scheifele is getting his first taste this week of what it's like to have a head coach fired. "It's definitely different. It's something I've never had to encounter, but there's a first for everything, right?" he said.
"But it's also exciting to see a guy like coach Maurice. He looks like a passionate guy and seems like a good coach. I think he's going to be able to help us."
Special night Jan. 28
THE Jets announced Monday for the second year in a row they will be holding a special night to promote mental health awareness.
The Jets will host this year's Hockey Talks on Jan. 28 when they take on the Nashville Predators at the MTS Centre. As part of the initiative, all Jets players dressed that night will wear a special jersey emblazoned with the number 11 and Rick Rypien's name bar during the pre-game warm-up.
Those jerseys will then be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to support mental health initiatives as part of a month-long initiative by the Jets.
Rypien, who battled mental illness for much of his adult life, played six seasons with the Manitoba Moose and Vancouver Canucks. He had signed a contract to play with the Jets in their inaugural return season in 2011-12, but took his own life in his Alberta home in August 2011.