The new Winnipeg Jets are in their third season, but they haven’t participated in a playoff game since relocation. Maybe that will change this season, but they’ve been stuck in the mud with a 4-5-0 record.
On Monday, Jets coach Claude Noel lamented that he doesn’t “have enough players to sit everybody.” However, if things don’t turn around, it could be him out of a job.
Although he’s not expected to directly talk about his job security, Noel might have addressed the issue in a roundabout way yesterday.
“My job is to get the best out of our team and our players,” Noel told the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s very clear. That’s my job and if I don’t do that, there’s consequences. I clearly understand those things.”
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff expressed faith in the team’s existing core when he spent $93 million re-signing Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little, and Blake Wheeler over the summer. They all got some form of a no-trade clause, as does Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, and Andrew Ladd, which is another trio inked in to long-term contracts.
With many of the keys players locked up, it seems fair to believe that the Jets’ management thinks their existing squad is capable of making the playoffs, even if that’s not the direction they’re headed in so far.
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.
Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.
The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.
Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.
“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.
Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.
Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.