We know the Winnipeg Jets dreamed of a better season than the one they had. They had a lot of things go wrong, and never really seemed to play as well as they had the prior year.
But the Winnipeg Jets have time, though their window is closing. We’ve seen how long teams like Washington and Pittsburgh have managed to remain competitive despite a revolving door around their core players.
The Jets can do that, so things aren’t as bad as they might seem. But changes are coming, and changes must be made. We recently stood in defense of head coach Paul Maurice.
This time, we’re going to consider the fact that Paul Maurice might not be the best option for this team. How do I really feel? Personally, I wouldn’t fire him, but I’d keep an eye on any potential coaches in the event he doesn’t make it through the season.
Maurice built up enough goodwill that I’ll afford him the benefit of the doubt through this season. This time, his leash must be considerably shorter. Injuries won’t give him a break. Connor Hellebuyck being mediocre won’t give him a break.
Things need to improve. Maurice can’t afford to just hope for the best. I know he’s a great coach, but we have to consider the possibility that he’s lost the room. The young players didn’t improve.
The established players had down years or wore down late in the season. They couldn’t beat teams they should’ve, and they crumbled in the playoffs, when we need the coach to make the necessary changes.
Even if Josh Morrissey and Patrik Laine suffer injuries next season, they won’t be excuses for Maurice. He didn’t make lineup changes in the playoffs when it was clear something was needed to shake things up.
He didn’t have a great motivational speech. He’s no John Tortorella, who has managed to take a worse team further in the playoffs. Still think this trade sounds stupid? All around the league, and in other sports, to be honest, the coaching ranks are trending younger.
Someone to communicate better with the players, someone to take the information the front office has acquired and implement it in an easy-to-understand, quality way. Maurice is just 52, and I’m sure the game hasn’t passed him by yet.
When he inevitably leaves Winnipeg, He’ll be sought after around the league and he’ll continue to be a good coach. But the time may have come where he’s no longer the right coach for this team.
The roster has been built, they’re a championship contender. Maurice has brought a team to the Final (Carolina in 01-02), but never held the Cup. Maybe he’s just not that guy. He can get the Jets to the doorstep.
The Jets might have to do the rest, find the right guy to lead the team over the hump. It’s not easy. But we know the Winnipeg Jets possess the talent to get there. Or near enough. The offseason is going to be an important one.
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Will the team look for a head coach as well as some new players? They should at least keep an eye out.