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

Dec 7, 2013, 10:54 AM EDT

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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.

  1. alicesrightfootesq - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Probably has more to do with the Jets just not being that good and playing in a brutal conference. Probably not some secret cliq holding them down.

    • mikebel11 - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      The Jets are a porous one line team that plays bad defence, relies too heavily on their goaltender to make 40 saves a game and have a lame duck coach behind the bench. Any one who’s ever watch a tsn-jets feed knows that Gary Lawless is equivalent to TMZ, he just says stuff to get attention.

      • mikebel11 - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        I’ll listen to Gary Lawless’ opinion on sports when Gary Lawless can walk down a staircase without having a heart attack

  2. killerpgh - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    I can’t believe Winnipeg’s media whipping boy Evander Kane didn’t get called out in this article. Seems like they never miss a chance to call him out for anything.

  3. steelers88 - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    The thing I don’t understand about the Jets franchise is always a good player or two away and a season away from winning but those players and that season never come. If I were a Jets fan I would be pretty frustrated.

  4. ruthlessandtoothless - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Ever just maybe think that this team might just not be that good? And Byfuglien was a Stanley cup champion before Atlanta so I’m not sure he’s the problem.

    • Joe Yerdon - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      So was Andrew Ladd.

      • prd797 - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        And Frolik…that’s three more Stanley Cup winning players than most teams have.

      • ruthlessandtoothless - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        Good point I forgot about him

  5. allday420ap - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    If they were still in the east, their season would probably be in far better shape

  6. uscthom78 - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    nice of the columnist to bring atlanta into the conversation and to blame atlanta.

  7. thehabsnation - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I would move the coach and not Kane. Noel is not ready for this at all.

  8. rushledger - Dec 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    How come the GM gets no criticism? He got frolik ok but other than that he traded a 7th round pick to get Tangradi last season and that’s it. He’s afraid to make a big move to this point and its hurting the team, it needs a shake up. Say what you will about the Vanek trade but it tells the locker room that the gm believes in you.

  9. saintsredwings - Dec 7, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Jets need to fire their coaching staff. Noel comes off as an arrogant prick.

  10. pavelfitzgerald - Dec 7, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Gary Lawless does stuff like this to bring attention to himself. For the most part he has good insight & analysis but every once in a while he does something stupid like this.

    Ladd is one of their best players night in & night out. Little is their leading scorer & has really developed nicely over the last 3 years. Byfuglien can have moments of brilliance & most of sheer idiocy that drive you crazy but at this point you have to accept that this is who he is. He’s one of those player who can singlehandedly win you a game at times & also lose it.

    This team is simply not that good. Chevy’s slowly building thru the draft & Jets fans need to ride out being a team in the best conference, with 1.5 lines, a top heavy d core & a average goaltender.

  11. shanesander - Dec 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    rule of thumb: if Chris Thorburn is on your team, you clearly are not in a spot to be an ultra-competitive team

  12. shanesander - Dec 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    surprised Lawless hasn’t written a Tupac is still alive piece

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