Paul Maurice: Not in a happy place after Canadiens blow out Jets

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Why say the Winnipeg Jets “struggled” in a 7-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens when you could instead say that they were “horse [blank] from the drop of the first puck to the end.”

That was Jets head coach Paul Maurice’s take on the defeat, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

While they scored their fair share of goals, the Jets obviously allowed buckets of chances, including two-goal nights by Phillip Danault and Artturi Lehkonen. (If you haven’t seen Danault’s end-to-end masterpiece, do yourself a favor and give it a look.)

You can see Maurice let his team have it during the second period of Wednesday’s game in a video above. Here’s more from Maurice:

If nothing else, his tough night did inspire a funny meme or two.

One can understand Maurice’s frustration, especially since it leaves them firmly outside of the West’s wild card rankings. They’re not hopeless by any stretch, yet with losses like these and Patrik Laine‘s concussion situation, you can understand Maurice losing his patience.

Maybe this is just the spark this team needed … or maybe we’ll look back at this as a breaking point for Maurice as Jets head coach.

Either way, it was a rough night for the Jets. And it showed.

Video: Paul Maurice says Paul Maurice is in a bad mood

After the Jets lost 4-1 in Calgary on Tuesday — their fifth loss in seven games — Paul Maurice looked like the head coach of a team that just needed to get away for a little while.

Then he met with the assembled media, and confirmed it.

In the third person!

“We’ll deal with what we’re doing coming out of the break, but this team needs some rest,” Maurice said, per the Jets website. “The coach has been in a bad mood for a long time and…. we need some rest, some separation.”

The Jets head into the Christmas break as one of the NHL’s biggest disappointments. After making the playoffs a year ago, they currently sit 24th overall with 32 points, eight back of Nashville for the final wild card in the Western Conference.

Maurice is clearly frustrated.

And that frustration might not be going anywhere.

Coming out of the break, the Jets have a pair of tough home games — against Pittsburgh and Detroit — before heading out on a five-game road swing through Arizona, San Jose, Anaheim, Nashville and Dallas (the Jets are an ugly 6-12-1 away from home this year).

The club is also dealing with the contract uncertainty of pending UFAs Dustin Byfuglien and the captain, Andrew Ladd.

With the trade deadline drawing closer, those storylines will only intensify.

Finally, there’s the issue of the club’s goaltending.

While Ondrej Pavelec has been erratic during his time as the club’s No. 1, his lengthy absence with a knee injury has proven costly. Michael Hutchinson has one win in his last 12 outings while prized prospect Connnor Hellebuyck has struggled recently, posting just an .883 save percentage in his last five games.

Paul Maurice has noticed how the Canucks are always playing tired teams at home

Winnipeg Jets v Vancouver Canucks
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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).

Paul Maurice: ‘Tomorrow we’ll work like today never happened’

Phoenix Coyotes v Winnipeg Jets
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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.”

Paul Maurice is one classy guy

Paul Maurice message
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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.