It probably looked like a good thing when the National Hockey League's condensed 2013 schedule was released.
Right here and right now the Winnipeg Jets are coming off the longest break of their 48-game season -- a whopping full three days have passed since they were on the ice in Tampa before today's home date with the Florida Panthers (7 p.m. TSN Jets / TSN 1290).
But here's the downside, most of which has been hammered home over and over since the humiliating 8-3 spanking administered by the Lightning last Friday: When a team's last effort was a complete stink bomb, the stench tends to linger.
And so as the Jets gathered at the MTS Iceplex Monday there were some obvious signs of frustration, both with having to deal with the lingering after-effects and with the prodding questions that come with the autopsy following each loss.
In other words, puck drop can't come soon enough for this crew.
"We know how we have to play," said Jets centre Olli Jokinen. "We all say the right things here, too, but it's a matter of going out there and doing it. Now it's enough talking and enough trying to figure out what we have.
"We did it in the first week. We went into one of the toughest buildings and played a good defensive game in Boston. We go into Washington the next day and play a good defensive game. There's no reason we can't do it.
"It's more of having that mindset to try and do that every night."
The Jets' focus over the last couple of days has been on their atrocious penalty-kill unit, which is ranked dead-last in the NHL with a 59.3 per cent efficiency rate.
But there's also been a lot of discussion about smarter play, about doing all the little things that add up to success and about the approach they took in building a 3-1-1 record in the first week of the season.
There's also this: The most-effective way to make all this go away, even just temporarily, is to take care of business the next time they step on the ice. The NHL's elite teams know how to stop the bleeding quickly. The rest tend to stare at an open wound and watch it fester.
"Every team goes through tough patches," said captain Andrew Ladd. "It's the teams that deal with it quickly and find ways to move on and find success in the areas they've been struggling in that are the best teams in the league. That's what we're going to do here and have done in the past couple of days. We've got to be better on Tuesday.
"You have to have the mentality to forget about it and move forward. Somtimes it's tough to do, especially when you take the beating we did the other night. But it can also frustrate you, get you a little angry, and that should lead you to play with a little bit more of an edge and a purpose."
Head coach Claude Noel has been preaching better discipline over the last couple of days -- the Jets racked up 73 minutes of penalties vs. 44 for their opponents in three games last week -- but has also chosen not to crack the whip and grind his troops into the ground.
Just how much has discipline been preached?
"I don't think you can pound on the negativity," Noel said. "There's enough negativity around for us. What it does is it brings your group closer together. What we do is try to support the situation rather than pound on people. I don't think that gives you very much success.
"We know that adversity is going to hit, it's how you deal with this adversity. We'd rather deal with it with a positive fashion right now."
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