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New Jets coach Maurice will focus on defense

Jan 13, 2014, 1:43 PM EST

For your review, here are the first three goals the Winnipeg Jets surrendered — all in a span of less than eight minutes — to Columbus on Saturday:

We’ll call that one “Mark Scheifele falls asleep, enables shorthanded 2-on-1, what was Zach Bogosian doing there?”

We’ll call that one “another odd-man rush surrendered, Jacob Trouba can’t be two places at one time.”

We’ll call that one “hey, don’t forget about Nick Foligno oh too late now.”

The Jackets’ fourth goal of the second period came on a penalty shot after Boone Jenner was hauled down on a breakaway.

All of which is to say, for all the blame that goalie Ondrej Pavelec has received in the wake of Claude Noel’s firing — not to mention the criticism general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has received (from yours truly, for example) for signing Pavelec to such a big, long contract — when a team plays defensively like the Jets played Saturday, it’s typically going to give up some goals, no matter who’s in net.

And that’s why, for new coach Paul Maurice, the first order of business is going to be “the defensive side of our game.”

“If I don’t put the structure in front of [our goalie], we can’t win,” said Maurice. “And if he doesn’t stop pucks, we can’t win.”

The Jets have allowed at least four goals in each of their last five games, all of them regulation losses.

They’ll try to tighten up a bit tonight when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.

  1. ibieiniid - Jan 13, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    this mean Byfuglien’s moving back?

    • elvispocomo - Jan 13, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Not if they want to improve on their defence.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 13, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        lol I knew I’d get that response. I just know Noel made that decision friday, lost his job saturday or sunday, and now the new coach is already talking about defense. do they have better defensive options than Byfuglien?

      • elvispocomo - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        Defensive? Sure, plenty of D with less risk involved than big Buff. He’s great adding offence from the back end but he’s hardly a defensive stalwart.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        Byfuglien>Ellerby, IMO.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        Ok, but Ellerby plays the left side and Buff the right. How does one replace the other? I think when Buff was still playing D they were paired together at times. Is Buff going to be better than Bogosian and Trouba, the two right side D he’d be stealing the most minutes from.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        Pardy then? coulda sworn Ellerby was right side.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        I actually don’t know enough about Pardy to prefer Buff over him or visa versa. i’ll leave it at that. I just thought Buff would shift back.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Ellerby’s a left hander, and is in the boxscore from recent games (i.e. Boston earlier this month) as being on the ice with Buff during scoring events.

        Regardless, if Buff moves back to D he’s taking minutes from Bogosian and Trouba. He’s not going to be playing 3rd pairing at 12-15 minutes so if he’s on the ice for 20+ at D then he’ll be more of a liability than any other 3rd pairing D at 10+ minutes.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        ah, very true. none of the remaining blue liners in my scenario deserve only 3rd pairing time.

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