Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

The way it should be: All 4 lines chipped in

  • Print

Claude Noel is handing the fate of the Winnipeg Jets back to the players and they will either succeed or fail as a whole.

Tuesday night, the entire bench was involved as the Jets managed a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The third period turned into a coach's dream as four lines rolled. The Jets not only won but they looked efficient and experienced in doing so. No panic or fluster. Just simple hockey with everyone chipping in.

"Everyone has a role. Some might be smaller in terms of minutes but they all count the same in this room," said captain Andrew Ladd. "Look at the fourth line, they were out there in the third for important draws and had a few strong shifts cycling the puck. It gives the other lines a better chance to rest and keeps us all fresh when everyone is getting used."

After a lengthy stretch of shortening his bench and limiting some players to less than two minutes a game, Noel has gone back to distributing ice time in a far more equitable manner. All of a sudden the Jets don't look tired and panicked, but rested and poised.

"I thought our third and fourth lines played well and played a big role for us," said Noel. "They were really good. They were responsible. It's just a lot better when four lines are going. It gives you patience and energy."

The Jet with the least amount of ice time was Chris Thorburn, who still saw 8:34 of work. Ron Hainsey led the Jets with 25:31.

Contrast that with recent nights when the fourth line saw less than two minutes of work and some defenders were in and around 30 minutes.

Noel got away from using his entire bench as he rode a hot top line and some key defenders but it was false gold in the sense it wore his best people out.

"That's the world we live in this year. We spoke about that early in the year, how much using your bench, your four lines and your group would be at an advantage," said Noel. "At the end of the day all of that goes out the window when you are trying to win games."

A five-game losing skid, however, forced Noel to get back to basics. Winnipeg has won two straight and in both games there has been a more shared approach from the top to the bottom of the lineup.

"It does benefit your team in a lot of senses besides the obvious, but it benefits your team and it makes everyone feel a part of it. As simple as that sounds, that's a good feeling especially if you win," said Noel.

The Jets won't go anywhere with two lines and four defencemen. They need everyone contributing and Tuesday's game should be the blueprint down the stretch. Win or lose as a full team but don't try and do it with one hand tied behind the back. You'll be beaten before you start. Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 10, 2013 C1

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


  • 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 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 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.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Winnipeg Cheapskate: Tech support alternatives

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


The Manitoba Moose have returned! What's your reaction?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google