Tag: Claude Noel

Blackhawks Jets Hockey

Columnist: Jets ‘Atlanta Association’ are ‘rotting away any chance of success’


The Winnipeg Jets have had their struggles yet again this season. They’re currently sixth in the Central Division and 15 points behind first-place Chicago and one Winnipeg columnist says there’s a lack of accountability from a certain clique of players.

Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press says Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, and Tobias Enstrom make up a group he calls the “Atlanta Association.” Those players, Lawless says, don’t hold themselves accountable for mistakes made and the team is suffering because of it.

There is a hierarchy in the Jets dressing room and at the top is a group of players who bonded together in Atlanta. Those friendships are taking precedence over results and they are rotting away any chance of success for the Jets.

While those five are called out, players like Mark Stuart, Olli Jokinen, and 20-year-old Jacob Trouba are held up as better examples of what players should be doing in Winnipeg.

The grumbles concerning anyone who has come from Atlanta is nothing new in the ‘Peg. With team captain (Ladd) being called out, as well as most of their top players and scorers from last season, this is a new shot across the bow.

If nothing else, a column like this might keep the heat off of coach Claude Noel while the team struggles.

Noel on Trouba: ‘There’s some good stability in his game’

Jacob Trouba; Dustin Byfuglien

When Jacob Trouba departed the University of Michigan last year to go pro, the biggest question surrounding him was how soon he’d crack the Winnipeg Jets roster.

The answer may be this season.

Jets coach Claude Noel is playing it cool when talking about his play in the preseason, but he’s liking what he sees from the rookie defenseman as Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press reports.

“For a 19-year-old player I think he makes good decisions, he plays hard, he plays a lot of minutes and makes a lot of good decisions,” said the Jets’ boss. “There’s some good stability in his game.”

Winnipeg does have a crowded group on defense. Obviously Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom are guarantees, as are Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart, and Grant Clitsome.

That sixth spot though? That’s up for grabs and Trouba has to compete with Adam Pardy and Paul Postma for that. Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press says to give Trouba (and rookie teammate Mark Scheifele) their shot to succeed right away.

Trouba’s shown he’s got the skills from his play at last year’s World Junior Championships. If he can hang with the big boys, suddenly Winnipeg’s defense doesn’t look too shabby at all.

It’s Winnipeg Jets day on PHT

Lightning Jets Hockey

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Winnipeg Jets.

Solid, yet unspectacular.

That’s the way you could describe how just about everything the Jets have done over the past year. They finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the upstart Islanders. The brilliant parts of their team (Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd) are often overshadowed by who struggles (team defense, goaltending, coaching?).

The Jets are a team with hope and with reasons to be optimistic about their future, but many questions remain. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff tried to address some of those issues this summer, but mostly got caught up in retaining his own players.

It’s not quite a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of thing, but in a new division with new rivals they have to hope treading water is OK.

Offseason recap

The Jets managed to spend quite a bit of money this summer, just not in what was an unspectacular free agent crop. They carved out big deals to restricted free agents Blake Wheeler, Zach Bogosian, and Bryan Little. With all the money spent there, the generally frugal Jets are now amongst the league’s biggest spenders.

Who they were able to add to the team they did so through trades. They acquired Michael Frolik from Chicago and Devin Setoguchi from Minnesota for just mid-round draft picks. Meanwhile, young forward Alex Burmistrov packed up his things and headed to the KHL after apparently having issues with coach Claude Noel.

Prospect forwards Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry will each get their chance to show they can be full-time NHL players this year and it would do Winnipeg a world of good to see them make the leap.

Rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba could wind up being a Calder candidate this season. Meanwhile, questions still remain as to how good (or not) goalie Ondrej Pavelec can be.

It could be one of those seasons for the Jets, they just have to hope they can hang with the likes of Chicago, St. Louis, and Minnesota instead of Tampa Bay, Florida, and Carolina. Gulp?


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

Burmistrov blames Noel and Jokinen for Winnipeg struggles

Alex Burmistrov

Alex Burmistrov is headed to the KHL next season but he’s not leaving without sounding off about what went wrong in his time with the Winnipeg Jets.

In speaking with Russia’s Sport-Express (link in Russian), Burmistrov pointed a finger at both coach Claude Noel and center Olli Jokinen for why he was seemingly buried last year. According to the (poor) translation of the story, some of his issues with Noel were know by now.

During the lockout Burmistrov wanted to play in the KHL, but the team and Noel had him play with St. John’s in the AHL instead. In 22 games with the IceCaps, he scored just two goals with nine assists. For what it’s worth, Noel has said he wasn’t aware of Burmistrov’s issues with him.

The issues with Jokinen, however, are new. Burmistrov wondered why the 15-year veteran continued to log top-six minutes despite playing poorly while he was kept seemingly buried.

For what it’s worth, Jokinen averaged two more minutes of ice time per game than Burmistrov and had just four more points than him. Maybe he had just cause to complain but when you’re just 21 years-old, those complaints don’t get you very far.

Burmistrov will play for Ak Bars Kazan next season.

Wellwood’s season ended by hand injury

Kyle Wellwood

Winnipeg’s victory over Buffalo to hang tight in the race for the postseason had an unfortunate casualty for the Jets.

Forward Kyle Wellwood blocked a Thomas Vanek shot in the second period of the team’s 2-1 win and missed the third period with an injured hand. Coach Claude Noel said after the game the prognosis is not good as Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun reports.

“Kyle Wellwood will be out long-term with an injured hand,” head coach Claude Noel said afterwards.

The injury will keep him out of action for the rest of the season whether the Jets make the playoffs or not and the timing couldn’t be worse. Over the last nine games, Wellwood has scored four goals and has three assists in helping the Jets to a 6-3-0 record over that span and getting the team back in the race for both the playoffs and the Southeast Division crown.

Now they’ll have to find a way to replace his production in the lineup for their final three games at least. Nik Antropov and Anthony Peluso are candidates to get into the lineup after both are over injuries of their own.