Distress call for Jets

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:24 AM ET

We're not about to bury the Winnipeg Jets after playing three games of the NHL schedule.

The potential to turn things around is certainly still there but it's become abundantly clear that some bad habits need to be broken in order for the Jets to be more competitive going forward.

We understand it's a process when players are getting used to another new head coach -- and remember, for some of the veterans Claude Noel is the third bench boss in as many seasons.

That's not an excuse for their lacklustre play so far, but it could be one of the reasons.

For a club that was priding itself on work ethic and expecting its young core to lead the charge, the Jets have simply underachieved so far.

"We have to play better, we have no choice," said Noel. "I'm not sure what it is we're waiting for. It looks like our team thinks we have a free pass to fail. I'm not sure what the wake-up call is.

"This is all information. This is what we've got and this tells us a lot of different things. This is hammering things home. We have a franchise that isn't used to winning (with the Atlanta Thrashers) and it shows. This group has gone into a market that's in a frenzy for winning and they've decided this is what they're going to show them.

"I need to see a lot of things. The results are a little bit strange, but we're going to see what we are."

To this point, the Jets have allowed 13 goals while scoring just five.

Their power play has yet to produce a goal, while the penalty killers have surrendered one in each of the three games.

Recipe for success? Not exactly.

"We're just a little off right now," said Jets goalie Chris Mason. "We're having trouble getting flow and getting constant pressure on teams right now. We're causing a lot of our own problems. We're a good skating team and there's no reason we're giving teams as much room out there. We have to cut them off and be high pressure and look to use our defence to create offence and that's not something we're doing right now.

"It's tough, the games have not gone the way we'd like and it's something we have to address in a hurry."

Both Mason and Ondrej Pavelec know they need to be better and come up with a few more timely saves, but nobody is pointing the finger at the goalies.

It's been a collective effort -- or lack thereof -- that's led to the Jets struggles in the defensive zone.

"Right now, we need to keep our game hard and simple and be physical and winning races to pucks -- that's fundamental," said Jets defenceman Mark Stuart. "The best players in the world make turnovers but for us, it's a matter of keeping it simple and getting pucks deep first. Especially at the start of the game. Then throw pucks on net and good things will happen."

The clock is ticking and the longer the Jets go without securing that first victory, the more likely it is that the frustration will mount.

Finding the urgency, while playing within the structure is the key to getting things on track.

"Every game you go without a win, it obviously mounts," said Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey. "The bad news is that we haven't won. The good news is that there's 79 games left.

"We've got to focus on winning on Monday."


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