Simple things seen as the keys

Basic execution cited as main issue

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WHEN the Jets bolted from the gate with a six-goal outburst in Game 1 of their season, right-winger Blake Wheeler lauded his teammates' execution of the simple things as the main reason for offence against the Arizona Coyotes.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2014 (2903 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WHEN the Jets bolted from the gate with a six-goal outburst in Game 1 of their season, right-winger Blake Wheeler lauded his teammates’ execution of the simple things as the main reason for offence against the Arizona Coyotes.

The Jets have been unable to repeat that style or success. In the three losses since, in which they have scored just once, frustration is building.

And so the call has gone up for simplicity.

Blake Wheeler

“Simplifying is going to be key to getting us back on track, putting pucks to the net, putting pucks deep,” Jets captain Andrew Ladd declared on Saturday as the team prepared to face the Calgary Flames tonight. “Really just being on our toes and being sharper. I think the last game especially, we weren’t sharp with the puck and against teams, especially in our conference, they’re just sitting there waiting on turnovers and stuff like that.”

Jets centre Mark Scheifele, who certainly had his chances against Nashville on Friday, was singing out of the same songbook.

“Just keeping it simple,” Scheifele said. “It’s still early. There’s no need to panic. It’s still early and guys are still finding their rhythm and the basic thing is to keep it simple, just bear down when you get the chance.”

There was no denying the Jets were feeling a bit edgy over the offensive questions of the last week.

“I’d say it’s a little frustrating,” Scheifele said. “Everyone wants to score in every game. That’s just in guys’ nature. But for the most part I think it’s a matter of keeping it simple. You continue to work hard and not get frustrated and not be gripping the stick too tight. Continue to do the simple things and the scoring will come.”

The focus was one item Ladd pointed to, saying new systems or styles do not prevent focus or sharpness.

“Definitely with stuff like sharpness and execution, I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s just being sharp and being ready at the drop of the puck and having confidence in what you can do and in making those plays.

“Like I said, simplifying, sometimes when you simplify, it makes it easier for your linemates to read where the puck is going and easier for you to get on the puck and get pressure up ice.”

The Jets will try all of that with some new combinations tonight.

NHLI via Getty Images Mark Scheifele

Scheifele and right-winger Blake Wheeler, who missed Saturday’s practice on a maintenance day, will be joined by centre-turned-left-winger Mathieu Perrault.

Dustin Byfuglien moves from Scheifele’s line to one with Ladd and Bryan Little, and Adam Lowry moves into the middle between T.J. Galiardi and Michael Frolik. Jim Slater will anchor the fourth line with Chris Thorburn and Anthony Peluso.

Along with that attack, Jets coach Paul Maurice said Saturday he wants to see an improvement in the team’s puck support, something not that evident in his review of Friday’s shutout loss.

“I wouldn’t call them revelations… we talk about a lack of offence, that’s clearly been on everybody’s mind and I think it’s not so much within the 10-foot area of the net or our shot selection,” the coach said. “We didn’t do a particularly good job of supporting the puck from our end out, which takes away any of that speed that we like to generate through the neutral zone, any rush opportunities we have, and it changes the way your forecheck looks.”

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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