Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Olys chance for Jets, coach to talk contract

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WASHINGTON -- Paul Maurice won't go there, at least not publicly. And if Winnipeg Jets fans have learned anything about Kevin Cheveldayoff during the GM's tenure, it's that any news he coughs up will usually come via a press release.

But with the Jets on a 9-2 run since Maurice took over the team on a handshake agreement, there is a belief the club may get down to hammering out a "real" contract for the new coach during the Olympic break. Cheveldayoff will be in St. John's for the AHL All-Star Classic on Feb. 11-12 and planned to do some scouting of NCAA prospects before that season ends, but may finally have the opportunity to negotiate a deal. Currently, Maurice is under contract for this season only.

Interestingly, while there was no media access with the Jets upon their arrival in Washington Wednesday -- the team opted for off-ice workouts -- Maurice did speak Tuesday about working with assistants Charlie Huddy and Pascal Vincent.

"They're both really interesting people in terms of experiences and what they do for us," said Maurice. "Charlie... there aren't a lot of Stanley Cup champions like that, that have the ability to relate to all players on your bench.

"Pascal is somebody that I didn't know at all and I would consider him invaluable now. He has a great work ethic and a detailed hockey mind. More importantly, they have strong opinions. Both will give you an answer within 10 seconds of you asking them a question."

And when Maurice was pressed further about adding another face to the staff for next season, he grinned.

"I'm not going talk about anything and we'll wait and see what happens at the end of the season," he said. "They could need a bunch of coaches next season, who knows? We've got to keep performing well. We're all still working for the summer."

Worth noting: Since making the coaching change the Jets, at .818, have the best winning percentage since Jan. 12, ahead of Toronto (.792), Boston (.750), Columbus, Colorado and the Rangers (.727).

  • A MAN-ADVANTAGE SLUMP: The Jets didn't get a power play in Tuesday's win over Carolina, marking the second time this season they weren't awarded a man advantage in a game and the second time since Jan. 2. Winnipeg doesn't have a power-play goal in its last five games, going 0-for-9 over that stretch, and has gone 2-for-22 in the last nine.
  • NUMBERS GAME: The Jet are winless in their last five games against the Capitals... Chris Thorburn's game-winner against the Canes was his first since March 8, 2009, when he scored for Atlanta in a 5-2 win over Calgary. According to Elias Sports Bureau, entering Tuesday Thorburn had the second-longest game-winning-goal drought among active NHL forwards (335 games), behind the Kings' Colin Fraser (358 games)... Dept. of corrections: Ondrej Pavelec's save percentage under Paul Maurice is now .918, not the .957 reported Wednesday.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 6, 2014 D4

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