Maurice says attempt to boost Jets offence caused club to stall

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Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice refused Tuesday to subscribe to the theory his team, stuck at 11-12-2, has simply had a human-nature letdown after clawing its way into the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/12/2015 (2453 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice refused Tuesday to subscribe to the theory his team, stuck at 11-12-2, has simply had a human-nature letdown after clawing its way into the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.

“There’s a completely different kind of pressure now, and an expectation, and maybe a little bit of forgetfulness that we were winning 5-0,” he said Tuesday.

“I’m guilty of it, too. We’re 8-4-1 and I’m trying to figure out why we’re not 10-2-2. You’re always pushing for more, so be careful with how high you raise that bar too quickly.”

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press Cocah Paul Maurice hinted that some of the things he asked of his players may have caused the team to go into a stall.

Maurice intimated that some of the offensive things he started to ask his players to do this fall, building on the defensive proficiency they displayed for so much of 2014-15, may have caused the team to go into a stall.

“Every year each team had to find the game they’re good at,” he said. “I believe we’re starting to see, over our last seven games, that come back into our game.

“We liked the offensive part of our game (on the recent three-game road trip). (Three goals) should be enough to win you two games anyway.

“But we push for that. I don’t think we’re cheating for it. There weren’t guys hanging behind the play. There was a little too much risk in the game possibly but we were pushing for it, not cheating for it.”

Is the offensive stuff he was trying to introduce now out of the plan?

“We’ve tried to refine when we use it a little more, that it’s not every time we touch the puck,” he said.

Easy? No chance

Jets right-winger Blake Wheeler ventured some of the team’s followers have lost sight of how difficult a journey the Jets had last season en route to the playoffs.

The matter came up when he was asked about the team’s status right now, outside the playoff line.

“It’s easy to have expectations when you didn’t go through it,” Wheeler said. “I think the guys in the locker-room know what went into last year. So the Winnipeg whiteout, the playoffs, all the parties that went on around the city, I think they might kind of overshadow how difficult that is to achieve.

“So putting pen to paper is easy but the grind we went through last year to achieve that… look at November last year, what we looked like. And December, and January, February, March. It was every single day a grind. So maybe it’s putting the cart before the horse, that we kind of had that result we were looking for last year.

“So this looks no different than it did last year. We just need to get a little bit better defensively and we’re going to look a lot like we did last year. It was never pretty last year.”

Wheeler, through the discussion, managed to sound quite optimistic.

“Hopefully nobody came into the season expecting things to come easily, because that’s not who we are and what we do,” he said.

“We all need to embrace the battle, because it’s going to be that way until the bitter end.

“If we find ourselves on the right side of the line again, we can throw another party. But that’s a long ways away.”

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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