It's time...to take aim at Paul Maurice
You didn't even need to watch yesterday's game to know things were going from 'bad to worse' for the Winnipeg Jets. Yours truly could not and perhaps that was a blessing. Down 2 goals in the first 10 minutes and ultimately surrendering an consecutive 5-2 loss to the bottom dwelling, off-ice maligned, ownership challenged, and feeble Ottawa Senators was enough for many fans and even some media to say 'something isn't right'.
Blake Wheeler put his brave, yet surprisingly optimistic face on after the game citing improvement within the team's general play. That however is not enough to soothe the growing the concerns around what is wrong with the Winnipeg Jets.
Most of the concern seems to be pointed at head coach Paul Maurice and yes deservedly so. By all accounts the Jets have one of the top players in the league under 21 in Patrik Laine who is not just struggling but has the weight of the world on his shoulders and doing anything and sometimes nothing to break his slump.
The coach refuses to adjust his lines or add anything in to the roster to break the doldrums that have set over this team. Meanwhile, according to more than many, the GM tries to add assets to bolster this group for another deep playoff run. Now the question might be is that good money spent after bad?
The questions mount in other areas too in regards to roster, usage and tactics?
1. Why can Wheeler and Scheifele, the two best play drivers not be split apart?
2. Nic Petan, his stats say he helps but he cannot crack the roster- what becomes of him?
3. Laine, at some point does he need support with a better linemate, more suited to his strengths?
4. The bottom six, with the return of Ehlers what happens there?
5. What kind of offence is Paul Maurice trying to run with this roster?
6. Defence, it's an issue and when not 100% healthy the glaring holes are there with passing, coverage and more.
7. The stubbornness to adhere to the one way of doing things. Have the Jets been figured out?
There's likely more but let's look at the Jets as they stand in another way, a more optimistic one.
If Kevin Cheveldayoff is thinking about making a big move he has to give up assets and perhaps some of those assets are on the roster and that's why things are not changing. They are being profiled right? Guys like Lemieux, Appleton, and perhaps even Tanev or Roslovic?
What about the lines? They are static because it's near time for Ehlers to come back in soon and his speed and drive will boost the underlying numbers and results. That might be wishful thinking but it also might be a product of above issues but in this case the optimist moves to pessimist when remember that problems existed with Ehlers too.
The problem that many are seeing is that there appears to be some disconnect to what the needs of the team are vs the moves the GM can make vs the way the team is coached. At least those are the thoughts and theories being tossed around. They may not be right, but at this point due to any move from the static status quo, no one should be dismissing them as wrong.
This is why there is aim at Paul Maurice, and rightfully so, he refuses (for whatever reason) to adjust roster and tactics despite mounting adversity, plummeting underlying numbers, and obvious poor results. The downside of this situation as the season inches towards the trade deadline is it might put more pressure and cost for Kevin Cheveldayoff to provide a fix along with uncertainty if the fix will work based on coaching decisions. Yes, that speaks to detachment from one another in terms of viewing the team but given the situation is it unreasonable to think that might be an underlying issues?
Remember how many points the Jets have via OT. Come the playoffs there is no 3-on-3 it's regular hockey and that's why understanding the problems that exist at 5vs5 are so important. It's why there is so much concern.
The Jets play Buffalo today and will hope to break a three game losing streak. If Blake Wheeler is right about many positive things happening but no the results then at some point the results would follow right? Today is hopefully going to prove the captain correct, if not what happens then?