May 25, 2015


Jets show definite signs of progress

Wheeler attributes improvement to continuity

It was big. It was dramatic. And it could come to represent a massive growth for the Winnipeg Jets.

But if you're looking for some sort of larger meaning to the Jets 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night, you won't find the answer being spit out anywhere in the team's dressing room.

Winnipeg Jets celebrate a goal by captain Andrew Ladd (right) during the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the MTS Centre on Friday.


Winnipeg Jets celebrate a goal by captain Andrew Ladd (right) during the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the MTS Centre on Friday. Photo Store

Here's Blake Wheeler when asked what the victory represents to a franchise pushing to establish some sort of identity.

"It gives us our second win of the year, no more, no less," said Wheeler with a shrug. "It is what it is: It was a big win, there's no questioning that.

"I'm not going to downplay that because we wanted to come in and win this game and be a really good team in our building and we accomplished that.

"But there's no reason to start organizing a parade."

Fair enough. But over the last three games the Jets have shown some layers to their game and some definite progress in areas that were major flaws a year ago.

And that's got to count for something.

"We're addressing the things that were our shortcomings last year," Wheeler said. "You look at our road trip (a shootout loss to Boston, followed by a win in Washington on Monday-Tuesday) and the back-to-backs were a big issue for us last year. Playing on the road was a big issue for us last year and falling behind and not being able to come back was an issue as well.

"We're showing that we've learned some lessons in the last year. The most important thing is everyone is buying into what the coaches are saying. It doesn't matter what the talent level is on a team. When you have a group of guys buying into the same concept, you become a real tough team to play against."

Again, the Jets know it's early and are trying to keep a lid on treating each game like it's life or death -- even in a shorter season. But they are also not hiding their belief that some continuity in management and in the room is a key factor in a 2-1-1 start.

"That's big," said Wheeler. "You can't underestimate it. Look at the best teams in the league: Their coaches have been there a long time and that's no mistake.

"There's a familiarity. There's an expectation now coming from both sides -- from the players and the coaches -- of each other. And when there's that give and take and trust between the two, then you can really get everyone pushing in the same direction."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @WFPEdTait


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 26, 2013 C5

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 January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 8:56 pm

Owner of Melita auction mart plans to rebuild after fire destroyed building

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 7:56 pm

Walters can't wait for rookie camp to start

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 6:42 pm

Family and friends gather to mourn Teresa Cassandra Robinson

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 6:34 pm

Selinger questioned about kicking Melnick out of caucus

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 6:18 pm

Morrissey, Kostalek have long way to go before claiming permanent spot with Jets

Scroll down to load more