Rumours are flying about the future of Paul Maurice, and the Winnipeg Jets head coach did everything he could to quash them on Monday.
If it’s up to Maurice, he won’t be packing his bags and leaving town anytime soon.
Last week, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman said on his 31 Thoughts podcast that he knows some people who believe Maurice will be named the head coach for the Seattle expansion team when it enters the league in the 2021-22 season.
After practice at Bell MTS Place, Maurice was asked to address the report.
"I’m here as long as Mark (Chipman) and Kevin (Cheveldayoff) want me to be here. This is home for me. I love this place," said Maurice, who has led the Jets to a 20-11-2 record this season.
"I’m not looking to be going anywhere. It will be kicking and screaming on the way out. That’ll be how that transition happens."
The rumours are being fueled, at least in part, by the belief Maurice is in the final year of his contract as Winnipeg’s bench boss. While the organization hasn’t said one way or the other, Maurice all but confirmed he’s carrying ‘lame-duck’ status.
"I’m in the exact same situation that I was my first half-season here," he said. "Where it was, ‘Let’s see if we get along and if we think this works.’ We still really get along, and we think that it’s working. That’s how I feel."
There is history between Maurice and Seattle general manager Ron Francis. Maurice coached Francis for five seasons before the Carolina Hurricanes let the coach go in December 2003. When Carolina brought Maurice back in 2009 for a second stint behind the bench, Francis joined the staff as an associate coach.
"It’s a little unusual that the speculation is related to a coach that has a job. Usually, it’s the three or four guys that are out," Maurice said. "It’s also something that’s kind of down the road. I’ve worked with Ron and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ron, but this is my home. I don’t want to go anywhere else."
On the ice, the biggest story was the status of forward Mathieu Perreault. The 31-year-oldwas knocked out of Sunday’s 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the second period. After Perreault passed the puck, Flyers rookie forward Joel Farabee hit him high and sent him to the ice. Perreault was slow to get up and he didn’t return to the game. As expected, he wasn’t on the ice Monday. The Jets are treating Perreault as if he has a concussion.
"He feels pretty good today. We’re just going to make sure, we’ll get him on the bike here and we’ll work him back in," Maurice said.
The NHL had a hearing with Farabee Monday and suspended him three games. Maurice wasn’t shy to voice his displeasure with Farabee’s hit.
"I’m trying to be honest here. The hit from behind is less dangerous, in my mind," Maurice said.
"Certainly it can be more catastrophic, I get that. But almost always the player knows that hit’s coming. (Farabee’s hit) is dangerous and it’s gotta come out."
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.
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