Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Maurice wants back with Jets next season

Even though team shoots pucks at him

  • Print
Paul Maurice was seeing superstars after getting beaned with the puck.

Enlarge Image

Paul Maurice was seeing superstars after getting beaned with the puck.

IF anyone was wondering whether Paul Maurice hopes to stick around next season, well, the Jets head coach left little doubt of his intentions.

Asked Friday if the challenge appeals to him, he was emphatic. "Absolutely," he said.

"You want a chance to get in on that ground floor, and have a little experience when you do that, so it's not a matter of just grinding them into the ice next year to make a point that you're a tough coach.

"Developing relationships with these players at a young age, where you can have an impact and a bit of a mentorship, that's exciting."

Maurice's contract is set to wrap up after this season, an arrangement he and TNSE agreed on when they brought him in to replace Claude Noel in January.

When he took the gig, Maurice was doubtless hoping for a playoff finish. After a hot start under Maurice, the Jets trailed off. They sat 12-11-5 under his watch after Thursday's loss to the Penguins. "It's an exceptionally empty feeling, when you wake up and it's over for you," he said.

But Maurice noted a lot of positives about his short tenure with the Jets, too, saying he thought the team was in better shape than when he arrived. Still, he understands fans' ire when wins fail to materialize.

"Being patient and building through the draft, and developing your young players, is a great thing to say in the summertime," he said. "It's a painful thing to say right here today.

"But we've got a young defenceman who played 24 minutes a night probably on average, that learned so much. He doesn't play that on an older, more veteran team... the decision's been made to make those kids play, and to live with that. I feel our next step is into that middle of the pack, that's where we want to drive our team to, and we want to get there as fast as we can."

So while personnel change may be inevitable, Maurice said, he also expects to see more growth from the players he has.

"I still think we're capable of playing a better brand of hockey with every single person that is in that room," he said. "So if those are the faces that we have next year, I have a higher expectation of our result."

-- -- --

Meanwhile, the coach was in a lighthearted mood when it came to his latest battle wound, a swollen gash on his forehead caused by an errant puck in Thursday's game. Though the cut did not require stitches, the rubber certainly made its mark.

"At one point, I saw five Sidney Crosbys on the ice," Maurice said. "Which would be great if I was Dan Bylsma, but not so much if you're on the other bench."

So, did he get an apology from Jets winger Michael Frolik, who shot the puck that ricocheted into his own coach's head?

"No," Maurice said, with a twinkle in his eye. "Listen, I couldn't put Olli (Jokinen) on the ice the next shift, because he was laughing too hard. As long as you're not hurt bad, there's nothing players love more than seeing a coach go down."

-- -- --

Though playoffs are out of the question, at least Jokinen has a little acknowledgment to remember his stout bounce-back season.

On Friday, the veteran forward was announced as the Jets' nominee for the 2014 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, as selected by the local members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The award is handed out every year to a player who best exemplifies qualities of perseverance, dedication and sportsmanship.

In Jokinen's case, the nomination recognizes how the 35-year-old bounced back from a dismal 2012-13 season, to score 17 goals and 41 points while playing in all 78 games so far this year.

The only real difference: No lockout, which saw Jokinen go nine months without playing.

"It was tough for a lot of the older guys," he said.

This time around, he made it a goal to get his game back to where it needed to be.

On that end, Jokinen said, he came "close," though stats don't matter so much if you aren't still playing hockey in the spring. "We're all disappointed here not to get in the post-season," he said. "Our goal was getting in post-season. Now we're outside, again, and it just wasn't good enough this year."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2014 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Premier, Mayor comment on CMHR opening

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Weather standup. Sundog. Refraction of light through ice crystals which caused both the sun dog and and fog along McPhillips Road early Wednesday morning. 071205.
  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many goals do you think Evander Kane will score this year?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google