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One Pittsburgh player said the Jets have ‘no real plan for what they’re doing’

Jan 6, 2014, 3:08 PM EDT

Head coach Claude Noel of the Winnipeg Jets gestures to James Wright #17 in third-period action of an NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at the MTS Centre on October 18, 2013 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
(October 17, 2013 - Source: Marianne Helm/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 Sunday afternoon, and apparently they weren’t too impressed with the structural play of their opponents.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic:

I have only ever heard the Penguins speak derisively of another team’s system once in recent years, and that was right after Buffalo passed through with the laughably-over-his-head Ron Rolston at the helm. The Sabres were flat-out clueless. Just humiliating. And it wasn’t long, of course, before Rolston got canned.

I heard much the same yesterday about the Jets. One player said they have “no structure.” Another said they had “no real plan for what they’re doing.” Yet another called them “really just a strange team.” All concerned, it should be noted, praised the talented individuals on the Winnipeg roster. It was hard not to be impressed with some of them on this day alone. But the focus clearly was aimed at Claude Noel’s system or, if he has a system, the evident failure to execute it.

Predictably, Twitter has had a few things to say in the wake of the above’s publication.

From Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press:

But getting back to the Jets, who’ve now lost three straight in regulation and sit well back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference — bad system, no system, or good system with not enough good players, it’s hard to see Noel keeping his job past this season if their consistency issues remain.

It’s also hard to see general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff not making any serious roster changes. Evander Kane‘s name has come up frequently in trade rumors. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear Dustin Byfuglien‘s name come up in a few going forward, especially given his recent struggles.

The Jets also need to figure out their goaltending situation, because Ondrej Pavelec (.901 save percentage) hasn’t been good enough and we’re not sure Al Montoya is starter material.

  1. runhigh24 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Ya the Penguins had a couple bad breakdowns yesterday (looking at you Orpik) but they’ve been in the top 5 all year in goals against. Every team is allowed a mulligan every so often. The Jets have been systematically and consistently bad for years.

  2. hockey412 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    I’d tend to agree with Lawless, it was a dumb thing to say (and to think) after a game like that. But I would question who Lawless was addressing, and who he is defending….sounds like everyone, including the dumbas* that made the comment, agrees that the team is really talented. The player (a.k.a. dumbas*) could have been defending the players effort under a poor coach (also ill-advised).

    I’d also question who said it…I never take anonymous quotes too serious. And SOMEONE said…AND I QUOTE…nah.

  3. lowenni - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    It really is time for them to get rid of Noel, they have a good roster but he isn’t getting them to produce results. I would be very interested to see what Laviolette could do for them, but I don’t really see him going there in the end. I would keep Buff, he has his struggles, but he’s still one of the best point producers from the blue line in the league, and you can’t teach size like that. I would get rid of Kane, he’s a bad presence, isn’t reaching his potential, and could fetch a very, very nice return.

  4. garyreasons55 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    This isn’t the first time the Penguins were arrogant and critical of other teams with the press. Besides being the dirtiest team on the ice they it carries over to the media. After they concussed Blake Comeau and broke Dipietro’s jaw they had similar opinions of the Isles and including that the Isles were basically an AHL team. Soooo, next time Haley,Martin,and Gillies along with others pummeled the Penguins on the scoreboard and with the fists. Of course, Mario cried and the Isles get heavily fined and players got suspended(even thought The Penguins had 4 guys left on the bench at the end of the game from ejections). If I’m Winnipeg I do something similar.

    • runhigh24 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Now that you mention it, the Islanders are basically the East’s version of the Winnipeg Jets. Sure there are some nice forwards, but no defense, abominable goaltending and a complete lack of structure.

      • garyreasons55 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        You forgot to mention terrible coaching. Critics of Noel should watch Jack Capuano. You’ll love Noel after that.

    • hockey412 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      You sound like a reasonable guy….fun at parties…

      • bigrboland - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        I agree 100%. He’s the guy in your group of friends (everyone has one….or should) who always manages to say something ridiculous then gets picked on the entire night for thinking and saying it.

    • anthj99 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      Haha. I loved when DiPietro got his glass jaw busted by Johnson. Wiped that smirk right off his face. Thanks for the reminder now I’m gonna watch it again.

      • 19inarow - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        Your parents have failed you.

      • whammy71 - Jan 7, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        How did they fail him? Let’s remember who instigated who in the DiPietro beatdown!

    • 19inarow - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      Amazing how many people can’t take the truth.

    • drone501 - Jan 6, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      wheres haley, martin and gillies now.

      • 7mantel - Jan 6, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Martin still with Islanders . Where’s Johnson ?

  5. babyfarkmcgeezax - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    The Pittsburgh player is right, no team relying on Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez at quarterback has a real plan, unless the plan is to remain mediocre.

  6. sjsharks66 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    I bet it was Glass. Haha

  7. steelcity333 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Whatever the Penguins plan is, it’s clearly working better than whatever the Jets plan is.

  8. penguins87and71 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    I don’t have a problem with what the Penguins players said. The only problem I have is the players didn’t put their name to their comments. This is one thing that irks me to end. I didn’t think the Jets were terrible yesterday, they played a very competitive game and they were great in the first period. I do think that they don’t have any defense and their goaltending is not that good either. I do think it’s time for the Jets to move in a different direction from Claude Noel.

    • dwmccu - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      My guess is that the reporter chose not to put their names to it, not the player/s.

  9. garyreasons55 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    The Penguins should be worrying about MAF folding in the playoffs again how they are going to beat Boston not what is wrong with some also ran.

  10. rdurk86 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I think the Penguins system is to get truck sticked by the Bruins in the playoffs again….

    • killerpgh - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      Truck sticked? Never heard that expression before.

      • rdurk86 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:51 PM


  11. penguins87and71 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    As I recall the Islanders weren’t darlings either. Gillies basically attacked Eric Tangradi and gave him a concussion which would cost him six weeks. The Islanders had 183 penalty minutes and the Penguins had 163 penalty minutes. Nice try though.

  12. rushledger - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    The jets are bad and should feel bad. The coach can’t get them to work as a team, lot of guys playing for themselves. I truly would be shocked if the GM made a serious move, he has yet to make one single major move yet.

  13. amityvillefun - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Now not just the Pens fans are talking smack, the players and team are as well?

    Umm, you let up 5 goals….that’s nothing to chirp about.

    Maybe Sid and the boys need to stand in line at the RMV like the rest of the world so they can get back to reality.

    You’d think a 4 game sweep in last year’s playoffs would be a reality smack enough…some blokes never learn…

    Here’s hoping they eat more humble pie this playoff season.

    • hockey412 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:40 PM

      (Psssst…no offense, but YOU are one of those smack-talking chirping blokes that never learn….)

    • dwmccu - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      You’re talking about one game, and a team that is 6th in goals against. It stands to reason that these remarks were made about the Jets season as a whole, which is a reflection of the coaching staff.
      Just so you know, pushing Crosby through the line at the DMV is SOP to avoid chaos.

    • drone501 - Jan 6, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      yeah, they played a lousy game yesterday and still managed to win. good teams do that.

  14. puregreed - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Are any of these comments from anyone that lives in Winnipeg and watches every game? You gave up 5 goals to a team that doesn’t have a system? Im not sure what it says about yours but it sure makes me understand why you got bounced from the playoffs again last year.

    • dwmccu - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      Generally speaking, the comment was accurate. The Jets have good players and should have a good team, but there coaching staff is not providing a “real plan for what they’re doing”. Yes, it was a high scoring game, as it usually is between these two teams, but it was only one game. Winnipeg has lacked consistency, and any real sense of direction all season long. I don’t see this as the players being arrogant because they won, I see it as an honest critique of a team that should be better than it is… Just my opinion though.

      • dwmccu - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        *THEIR coaching staff.

      • puregreed - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        Good players? One line is Wheeler, Little and Ladd, the next is Scheif, Kane and Frolik. Would any of these players make first line in Pit, Bos, Chi, SJ, etc. This team is just starting to get better, and they have a few good players but they are not even playoff caliber yet.

    • hockey412 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      Eh, it happens. Winnipeg is right in the middle of the pack on Goals/Game. Toronto is worse…but Chicago is let in 7 of theirs one evening…Nashville is worse than both of them and Chicago let in 6 another night to them….not to pick on Chicago, just that they are the reigning cup lifter-uppers.

  15. President Charles Logan - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    In another 5 years when attendance plummets the jets and their wheat city will lose their team again.

  16. muckleflugga - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    truck sticked…?

    it bad snow…snow melt…almost…snow bad more much…ice…truck sticked…in snow…bad…snow bad more…ice

    truck sticked

    left in bar curling rink…broom…angry…left in garage…shovel…angry more…hockey stick bed truck…aaah…beat hard truck…well sticked truck

    truck sticked in snow so truck sticked by stick for sticking in snow

    it canadian way…

    • puregreed - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      Truck Stick is from Madden.

      • puregreed - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        Or EA hockey, one or the other

  17. hockeyflow33 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Who’s opinion is more valuable?

    Players who actually play the game at it’s highest level or some reporter who can’t wear a tie because his neck is too fat and hasn’t played the game at any real level?

  18. pavelfitzgerald - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    As a Winipegger, who is a season ticket holder & watches every Jets game I feel I need to pipe in as it seems as though most people are Penguins fans or hockey fans that let’s face ti, don’t see a lot of the Wpg Jets because they’re the Wpg Jets.

    This team does have talent (Kane, Wheeler, Schiefele, Ladd, Byfuglien, Trouba) but has below average goaltending & a tendency to play bad defence. This team overacheived the last two years by almost making the playoffs with the likes of Hainsey playing in the top 4, Antropov, Wellwood, Mietinin, etc.

    This team is beter then it was last year but is playing in the brutal Central Division. Points wise this team does not look better then last year’s but if you watch them night in & night out they are.

    As far as this reporter .. he is an idiot .. & so is Gary Lawless. This reporter also said something along the lines that Wpg needed to “plunge the toilet” & trade all the “old players” & proceeded to list Ladd, Wheeler, Kane & Byfuglien .. … .. Kane is 22 … Wheeler is like 26 & really establishing himself.

    Is Claude a good coach? Yes, is he a good NHL coach, probably not. He is good at developing young talent but has not been able to reign in Byfuglien in 2.5 years & has not been able to get this team to play consistently & that will ultimately cost him his job. Both of these reporters though are idiots & I high recommend you take what they write with a grain of salt.

    • penguins87and71 - Jan 6, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      I give the Jets credit they stuck around the whole game. They do have some very young and talented forwards. I do think that they need to get better defensively and they need to get better goaltending. I think that they need to move on from Claude Noel. The Jets need a different voice in the locker room and maybe that will get them going. From the stories I have heard on this site and on the internet it sounds like Noel doesn’t really have control of the locker room.

  19. 7mantel - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    That’s bush league to make a remark about the opposing team you just beat ! Then not man enough to be quoted , I would think NHLPA is not to happy with the Pen players !

  20. muckleflugga - Jan 6, 2014 at 6:44 PM


    since you asked…i’ll take the reporter’s view every time

    a reporter’s physique only plays in the mind of juveniles, themselves still growing physically and intellectually

    based on interviews and commentary from hockey players generally, i feel they have little in the way of understandings about their game beyond personal exposure to a regimen offered through countless hours of having themselves been coached and schooled…

    players in north america tend to have lesser of a grasp of the game beyond their immediate playing position, in contrast to the russians and swedes, who are competent in any skating position while being subject to extensive training in strategy from each position generally

    that isn’t to say players and former players have nothing meaningful to say, but they are constrained by a narrow world of enrichment within their medium…when interviewed, players not coming from institutions of higher learning, often come across as emotionally immature and intellectually under-developed…not surprising given the fact they’re recruited and at such young ages…

    players who move into greater areas of coaching and management are often players who were marginalized by their lesser skill as players, being forced to spend more time observing and learning the game….still, their greater learning and understandings came through tutelage from greater minds, well taxed by experience and intelligent observation of the game over time

    reporters investigate, observe, chronicle and report…the who, what, where, when and why…all while functioning in milieu with others similarly employed…their access and exposure to strategy and movement in the game is infinitely greater than that of players employed in duties as players, in the moment

    while you see players being brought in to do colour after they retire, offering opinion to expand upon information already under discussion, they’re always following direction from professional reporters and editors close at hand…until they grow and mature as investigative reporters in their own right

    as for lawless, before reading tweets quoted, i asked the same question: who can argue a team’s system is at fault when that team poured five in before a sequence of deflections and lucky bounces fashioned an ill-deserved comeback, borne itself of nothing more than chaos…?


    strategical genius

    • bigrboland - Jan 7, 2014 at 8:29 AM

      Someone has WAAAAAAYYYYYY too much time on his hands. Get a job! And a clue!

  21. ironman721 - Jan 6, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Funny thing… No jets denial. Just saying…

  22. benrob99 - Jan 7, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    Jets DO have talent. And as someone pointed out I pretty much only watch them when they play the Pens. But Big Buff is HORRENDOUS in his own zone. Can barely move his feet and his turnovers are unreal. I know he has a hell of a shot, but defensively I don’t know how you can put him out there every night.

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