The Winnipeg Jets announced shockingly Friday morning, that head coach Paul Maurice resigned from his duties. Dave Lowry will take over head coaching duties on an interim basis.
— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) December 17, 2021
This news shocked the hockey world right before 11 am on Friday morning. However, speaking with the media in Winnipeg, Maurice said this was his decision as the team needed a different voice. Though he did not feel the team quit on him, Maurice was burnt out and just did not enjoy coming to the rink anymore.
“This is a good team. I’m a good coach,” said Maurice to the media Friday morning. “But sometimes when you take over a team, it’s like you’re starting at the bottom of a mountain and you’re pushing a rock up to the top and you’re only able to get it to a certain place. And that’s where I feel I’m at. And if you would allow me some arrogance, I would say that I’m better positioned than anyone to know that they need a new voice.”
Paul Maurice has been with the Jets for eight years. He and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff have been tied to the hip since the team moved to Winnipeg. Though he was not the first coach, it feels like Maurice was. Maurice took over for Claude Noel. From there Maurice has taken the Jets to the playoffs five of the eight seasons in Winnipeg, including the last four seasons. The best result the Jets got was when they reached the Western Conference Final in 2018 losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.
While some fans in Winnipeg wanted him out as his time was wearing thin, Maurice is still one of the more underrated head coaches in NHL history. Just how he has been to adapt and adjust from team to team and year to year.
As Maurice stated he knows the Jets are a good team especially what Cheveldayoff has done bringing Nate Schmidt and Brendan Dillion to improve that defence. However, this team has underachieved this season under Maurice. And he knows that and that is a big reason why he feels change is needed.
“Going back to the bubble, to the lockout year, I didn’t enjoy it. And that’s the very first time in my career I can say I didn’t enjoy coming to the rink. And I thought that maybe it was all of what was going on,” Maurice continued. “And then I got fired up. Chevy did it again. He got that two D [Brenden Dillon and Nate Schmidt], and I got fired up. If you lose some of that passion for the game, the love of the game, you can still be good, but you can’t be as good as you should be, or you could be — and that’s how I feel I am,”
Dave Lowry will take over on an interim through the rest of the season as Cheveldayoff stated. Even with the injury to Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele having an off-year, this team should be better. Hopefully, a different voice will help the Jets.
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