Winnipeg’s season could be made or broken tonight in Washington.
The Jets come in five points back of the eighth-place Capitals with a game in hand, and this will be last time Winnipeg plays Washington this season. Ergo, this is one of Winnipeg’s last opportunities for a four-point swing.
Huge game, no doubt. But it’s not like Jets head coach Claude Noel needs to explain that to his team.
“I don’t know at this time of the year if you need a lot of motivation [speeches],” Noel wold the Winnipeg Free Press. “I think all of your players know it, they sense what’s happening.
“You don’t have to draw pictures for them and I don’t think you need to sit there at this level and give them the rah-rah speech. They pretty much know what’s going on.”
That’s an amusing quote from one of the league’s more candid coaches. Noel’s about as blunt as they come — earlier this year, he asked why his guys were “playing like American league players” — so no surprise he laid all his cards on the table.
The game is huge and the Jets have to win. Players know it, coaches know it, fans know it. No big secret.
“[The players] are the ones that really need to care,” Noel continued. “All of us care, but they’re the ones that need to care and they do. We just get them prepared and prepared to perform so that there’s nothing new.
“It’s not like we’re sitting there going, ‘How does Washington play?’ We know how they play, we know what we want to do and away we go. Put your game out there and away we go.”