Per TSN 1040’s Jeff Patterson, it seems Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice has uncovered a bit of a trend in the Vancouver Canucks’ home schedule:
The Jets play tonight in Vancouver. They also played last night in Edmonton.
As Maurice insinuated, this is not unusual for visitors to Rogers Arena. In fact, going back to the Canucks’ six-game home stand in late January, counting tonight, the visitors will have played the night before nine times out of 16. In all nine of those cases, Vancouver has had the day off prior. And yes, one of those nine times saw the Canucks beat the Jets in overtime after tying the game late in the third period.
Not that the Canucks have taken full advantage of their relatively fresher legs — case in point, they lost 6-2 to a “tired” Columbus team last week, and one of their most disappointing efforts of the season came versus a “tired” San Jose side on Feb. 5 — but it’s still a welcome benefit of being on the West Coast, given all the miles they’re forced to cover during the regular season.
Oddly enough, Vancouver is one of the few teams with a better record on the road (22-12-3) than it has at home (20-14-1).
The Winnipeg Jets, under their new head coach Paul Maurice, came out like a team on a mission Monday night.
Maurice was named the Jets’ new coach after Claude Noel was fired on Sunday. In Maurice’s debut, the struggling team before him skated all over the Phoenix Coyotes and earned a 5-1 victory on home ice.
The enthusiasm with the Jets’ raucous fan base came back, for one night.
The win improves Winnipeg’s record to 20-23-5. The Jets remain at the bottom of the Central Division, so there’s no room for complacency after just one effort like this.
That is why Maurice canceled the team’s day off scheduled for Tuesday. Instead, they’ll practice, as per Darrin Bauming of TSN 1290 Radio.
“I felt the energy on the bench, the compete on the bench, the way they treated each other on the bench. It was good,” said Maurice, as per the Jets’ Twitter account.
But then, he added: “It’s one game. Tomorrow we’ll go to work like today never happened.”
Say what you will about Paul Maurice’s tenure in Carolina, but one thing you won’t be able to take away from him is his dignity.
Case in point, Maurice left a note on the team whiteboard in the Hurricanes locker room for new head coach Kirk Muller to see. RDS’ Max Morin captured a photo of the message and shared it on Twitter for all to see. Maurice’s message for Muller was simple.
“Kirk, Good luck. Great bunch of guys. The staff is A-1. – Paul Maurice”
Simple, to the point, honest, and completely without bitterness over being fired. No wonder Maurice was hired on two different occasions by the Hurricanes. Never mind that they also fired him twice, but still. A little class goes a long way in this business and stuff like that will keep Maurice in everyone’s good graces.
It’s a bad Monday to be a head coach in the NHL as the Carolina Hurricanes have fired coach Paul Maurice as their bench boss. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford announced the move today just hours after Washington fired Bruce Boudreau and brought Dale Hunter in there.
In this case, Rutherford says the team will announce a new coach later today and TSN’s Bob McKenzie says that it will be Kirk Muller that gets the call to take over. Muller has never been a head coach in the NHL but spent time in Montreal as an assistant to Jacques Martin and was the head coach of the Predators’ AHL team in Milwaukee this year.
(Update 12:09 p.m. ET: Hurricanes officially announce Kirk Muller to take over as head coach)
Maurice’s second term in Carolina ends as roughly as his first go-round did winding up getting fired in both cases. The last time Maurice was fired, Peter Laviolette took over and led the Canes to a Stanley Cup in 2006. The Hurricanes this time around would love to have the same thing happen here but Muller’s hands will be full in trying to get Eric Staal’s season turned around and helping the rest of the team figure themselves out.
Muller’s main goal will be to get the team’s defense straightened out as they’re last in goals allowed this season and in last place in the Southeast Division, just 14th out of 15 in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes just missed out on a playoff spot last season but have been beyond miserable this year. Muller’s task ahead is a tough one for a team that seemed to lose their skills over the summer.
You’re going to find out a lot about the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. They’re at home against Buffalo and for all intents and purposes it could be Paul Maurice’s final game behind the bench for the Hurricanes.
The team is mired in a funk so bad that it’s got GM Jim Rutherford talking about shaking things up one way or another soon and with how lifeless the Hurricanes looked against Montreal the other night, signs are pointing toward Maurice as being the source of their problems. They’ve lost six of their last seven and are in last place in the Southeast Division just a year after falling just short of making the playoffs.
For Maurice, News & Observer columnist Luke DeCock says that things are different than the last time he was run out of town in Carolina for losing ways. This time around, fan apathy could be sending the message that things need to change now. As for other fans, they’re already taking the temperature to see who they might want to see take his spot. The choices aren’t overly flattering.
If the Hurricanes do want to rally behind Maurice, putting the boots to Buffalo tonight will help send that message. If they have checked out on the coach, however, seeing the Sabres roll on them in front of their home fans would be the final straw.