Coach, What’s the Deal?



If the 2013-14 NHL Awards would come out today with its nominees for Most Inconsistent Act in the NHL thus far, the Winnipeg Jets would be a close lock to win it (here I’d like to plug the referees inconsistency on penalty calling, but I think I speak for about 99.9% of fans who watch hockey – everyone complains about reffing, thus a moot point).

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And as I sit drinking my morning coffee ready for another day of work, I know for certain that I will be putting in at least a 100-110% better effort that those who don blue every gameday to play hockey and make millions, while I am about two zeros of a paycheck off what they make.

So what’s the difference?

Maybe ask the coach: Hey Coach, what’s the deal?

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I’ll admit I have and still am (to an extent) a Cladue Noel fan.  He’s genuine, honest, and very up front about everything that goes on with this team.

His jokes are good, his stories are bordering on legendary, and it’s nice to have a face and a voice that can compete with John Tortorella on a nightly basis for a good quote.

But has Claude Noel become a raving side show that may take away from the goal he and the organization are trying to accomplish?

Noel is 61-56-13 in his first two season behind the Jets bench – a very timid winning percentage for a coach who has taken the best of situations and made the team work.

This season, however, is proving that the honeymoon with our NHL team has already closed and left the resort so to speak.

Sitting among the 15,004 – wait 14,977 – last night, it has become apparent that if the team isn’t going to perform on the ice as well as they need to draw those fans, they won’t want to come.  Evidence: their cousin Winnipeg Blue Bombers – no one in Winnipeg wants to watch a so-so team – we are all fairweather fans.

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And to top it off, we are seemingly still playing the same style of hockey as the last two seasons or at least trying to anyways.

Did Claude get the memo about us switching conferences?  We’re in the conference where the defence is stingier and the offense isn’t so free-wheeling anymore.  

The one where a Toby Enstrom or a Dustin Byfuglien may be exposed a little more often by an aggressive forecheck.

Watching Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler do the same identical moves they always do – power hard towards the corner – makes me realize that I am watching the replica of the 2011-12 and 2012-13 teams except against Western Conference opponents in games that matter.

So far, the Jets are 1-3 against divisional opponents with the only win coming via shootout versus St. Louis.  The Jets have yet to win a divisional game cleanly.

With four divisonal games to finish off October after Washington (an old divisional rival) comes to town, the Jets need to have more of a game plan than switching up the lines every second shift.

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So whether it is the coach’s fault or not, this team seems to be regressing and – to my shame to admit – this team has missed Ron Hainsey a bit (ouch).

Everyone wants and needs to blame someone – why not the coach? 

It isn’t True North style or procedure to do so, but if nothing changes, when will it be time to end the side show and make sure the players get the message that True North is trying to send.

We need to win.

  • Kevin McCartney

    For sure on missing Hainsey. I’ll say it “what were we thinking” we had a D-Man & Goalie for the price of one AND he had a better save % than what we have now. But from what I hear he wasnt staying no matter what. So this is the result we wont even be close to making the playoffs if it keeps going like this. And we all know with our fragile “D” things could get even worse.

  • Kevin McCartney

    I think True North has met the goals set out for team management. Chevyldayoff just got a two year extension to his contract. It is not for his trading savvy…he has yet to make a player for player trade. It is not for the on ice product on an unchanging roster…which has been very average from day 1. It is for the bottom line….$9 beers and profit goals.
    Money is being made. That is the main goal of True North.

  • Kevin McCartney

    I fully agree with you and 8-Ball, Matt. We miss Hainsey. I don’t blame Hainsey for not wanting to stay. He was an offensive dman in Columbus – the kind that gets you a 4.5Mx5 years contract – and then was put out to be the team’s whipping boy in Winnipeg. Not only was he the butt of jokes, but it hurt his earning potential as well. And the team wasn’t going to win a Stanley on the back of his sacrifice. He’s only 32. A good season in Carolina could earn him another 15 million before retirement.

    Great article, Matt.

  • Hainsey wanted out – who wants to be the fall guy for this team? He can still play but not for this team for the money he was getting paid. As for True North making money as their main goal – I don’t believe an owner like Mark Chipman would want to just make more money. If his press box attitude is any indication he wants this team to make money AND win.