June 20, 2019

Winnipeg
14° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Jets Logo

Winnipeg Jets (47 – 30 – 5)

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Jets stress importance of work

Struggling squad focuses on defensive zone, effort

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Winnipeg Jets' head coach Paul Maurice said the team's commitment to defence would be the area of focus for them during practice, Thursday.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Jets' head coach Paul Maurice said the team's commitment to defence would be the area of focus for them during practice, Thursday.

LAS VEGAS — Somewhere along the line, the Winnipeg Jets left their workboots either at home or at a jobsite far, far away.

Wednesday’s debacle in Denver showed in living colour all the talk of keeping it simple, sticking to systems and playing a full 60 is cheaper than dirt if the “try” factor isn’t the primary part of the equation.

A few players acknowledged Thursday the “something missing” in their game has been effort, plain and simple.

“We knew it was going to be a work day, for sure,” forward Andrew Copp said, describing the focus of the high-tempo practice at T-Mobile Arena, just off the Vegas Strip. “We went over parts of our game we needed to improve on, there were a couple of themes, and then at the end of the day it was more just our investment in the game as individuals but more importantly as a team.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Keep reading free:

I agree to the Terms and Conditions, Cookie and Privacy Policies, and CASL agreement.

 

Already have an account?

Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

LAS VEGAS — Somewhere along the line, the Winnipeg Jets left their workboots either at home or at a jobsite far, far away.

Wednesday’s debacle in Denver showed in living colour all the talk of keeping it simple, sticking to systems and playing a full 60 is cheaper than dirt if the "try" factor isn’t the primary part of the equation.

A few players acknowledged Thursday the "something missing" in their game has been effort, plain and simple.

"We knew it was going to be a work day, for sure," forward Andrew Copp said, describing the focus of the high-tempo practice at T-Mobile Arena, just off the Vegas Strip. "We went over parts of our game we needed to improve on, there were a couple of themes, and then at the end of the day it was more just our investment in the game as individuals but more importantly as a team.

"(Trying), that’s all it is. If you don’t show up ready to play in the NHL, it’s not going to be a good night for you. Obviously, there’s technical parts of the game, there’s systems we need to work on, how we defend. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if we aren’t invested and wired and ready to go."

Jets head coach Paul Maurice bristles any time the effort of his squad (36-20-4) is denounced, or even questioned in the gentlest of terms. The father bear instincts, understandably, kick in.

But even his captain, Blake Wheeler, pulled no punches in calling out the men in white Wednesday for falling far short in terms of how much energy and sweat was sacrificed in a pitiful 7-1 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche.

The only player he excused from blame during a passionate oration to reporters was netminder Connor Hellebuyck, who shone in a scoreless first period but was left stranded down the stretch to face an inspired squad with playoff aspirations of its own.

Wheeler went as far as to say the squad simply "gave up" after 40 minutes of play, yielding five goals by the Avalanche in the final period. He said it was a gut-check moment, and he’d be the first to look himself in the mirror and demand more from the guy staring back.

Speaking after practice, veteran forward Mathieu Perreault said he steered clear of all media Wednesday night and hadn’t heard Wheeler’s blunt assessment of a team that has lost three straight games and has posted just five wins in its past 13 games (5-6-2).

He admitted it’s the team’s lowest point in two seasons.

"That’s just it. Individually, we have to asked ourselves if we worked our hardest (Wednesday), Perreault said. "Absolutely, you have to want it more. Face the battles and want them more. Lately, it hasn’t been there for us. I feel like I have more to give to this team, and everyone in this room should feel that way right now."

Despite the slide, the Jets still clung to the lead in the Central Division after the loss. They still have 22 games left in the regular season to start resembling a club that’s prepared for an extended post-season run.

Maurice was fired up at practice, barking out orders but without malice, while offering plenty of encouragement during a fast-paced, one-hour practice. A rather open and honest video session preceded the skate.

The compete level, particularly on the defensive part of the game, was the general theme.

A year ago, the Jets finished second in the NHL standings, allowing the fifth-fewest goals against and the fifth-lowest goals allowed per game (2.63). This year, the team sits 13th in goals against through 60 games, as well as 13th in goals against per game (2.95).

"It’s an awareness of what the game demands, the demands after the all-star break, what we’re capable of doing. It’s an awareness of every shift and the value of playing on both sides of the puck with the same interest," Maurice said, taking an off-handed shot at the club’s overt defensive miscues in recent games.

"(The commitment level to defence) would be the area of focus for us."

Maurice tinkered with his forwards in the third period against the Avs, with ugly results. But he’ll likely go with a modified version against Vegas (32-25-5).

Top centre Mark Scheifele will go with his usual partners, Wheeler and Kyle Connor, Perreault joins centre Bryan Little while Patrik Laine flips to right wing on that trio, Andrew Copp reunites with centre Adam Lowry and Brandon Tanev on the "TLC Line," and Jack Roslovic moves down to play the middle between Mason Appleton and Brendan Lemieux.

Lowry’s line was one of the NHL’s premier shutdown units a year ago but has spent time apart this season due in some respects to Copp’s concussion problem.

"That’s the right spot for those men," Maurice said.

"We change our structure and go back to something we understand a little bit more, and, hopefully, when (Nikolaj Ehlers) gets back, we stay healthy and get to a look we’ve seen before."

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us