Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No time for regrets

Club unhappy with Thursday showing, but must move on

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JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS, or something to be steamed about?

As in, how do the Winnipeg Jets react to their lame pre-season effort, a 4-1 home-ice loss Thursday to the Minnesota Wild?

By the third period, fans at the MTS Centre were left to amuse themselves as a Winnipeg lineup that included its top two projected lines and its top three defencemen didn't come close to getting the job done.

To dismiss it as one of those nights, or react harshly?

"It's obviously embarrassing when you lose like that," said one of those defenceman, Zach Bogosian, after Friday's workout at the MTS Centre. "I thought today we worked hard and got a lot of five-on-five and systems stuff down. But at the end of the day, we have to have a better effort than last night."

Some Jets will get the chance quickly. The team, now 1-2-1 in the pre-season, plays the rematch tonight at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.

"We discussed last night and we've moved ahead," said head coach Claude Noel, who called his "decent" lineup on Thursday "disappointing."

"The biggest thing about moving ahead is letting what we had happen go. We know what we feel about that. We need to be better in the game in Minnesota and that's what we're focusing on."

While Noel obviously said his piece to the team on Friday, Bogosian wasn't letting go that easily.

"We didn't play anywhere close to our capabilities," he said. "It is early and we're still working out our kinks, but last night wasn't the effort that we needed. I don't know if you really expect anything more as far as practices being harder, but they've all been pretty hard. You just go out there and try to get better every day. That's part of our job.

"That's not something, even though it's a pre-season game, that we take very lightly."

Another veteran who had nothing to do with Thursday's outcome said the defeat was a warning sign that some old habits die hard.

"We had a pretty hard practice today, worked on a lot of end-zone stuff, clearing the front of the net, protecting our net," said centre Jim Slater, who was given Thursday night off. "And I don't think it's just from last night, but from last year, we had a problem doing that, giving up some easy goals in front of the net.

"We need to work on it. It's what it's about. We weren't very good at it."

And Slater, too, said he doesn't want that one easily forgotten.

"No, I think you have to look at it pretty closely," he said. "We had a lot of our veterans in the lineup yesterday. Obviously it was a pretty sloppy game all around. A lot of special teams involved. A lot of things happened.

"We've got to be a team now where we have to be mature and we've talked about it a long time now, being a team that can overcome this stuff and not have these lapses."

Slater said there are numerous reasons for something better tonight.

"You don't know how it will unfold but you want to be a little sharper," he said. "(They're) a division team now. These are kind of like investment games now, where you want to show them you'll be a hard team to play against and you want to show them that last night isn't what we have -- we've got more. So I expect Saturday will be a game where we're coming out hitting and going."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2013 C4

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