Jets look up to Panthers
|Jets head coach Claude Noel is set to face former Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay, now an assistant with the Panthers. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)
SUNRISE, FLA. - In his first NHL season as Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen has instilled the type of confidence the Winnipeg Jets are searching for.
After general manager Dale Tallon made wholesale changes to the roster, blending a nice mix of youngsters and veterans, the Panthers are off to a 6-4 start and are tied for second in the Southeast Division.
“(Dineen) has a way he wants his players to play and he demands it,” said Panthers defenceman Ed Jovanovski. “If it doesn’t go that way, we know what happens. He’s been a players-coach guy so far. He knows what guys need and he’s done a great job so far.
“When someone has played that many games in the NHL as he has had success at the minor league level and paid his dues, it’s like a kid playing in the Swedish Elite League for three or four years and coming into the (NHL) at 22, 23-year-old and adapting a lot quicker. That’s kind of been the scenario for Kevin.”
Meanwhile, the Jets are 3-6-1 and looking to go on a streak to get them back to .500.
“They understand what it takes to play in the league and they have started well,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “But somewhere in there, teams are going to face adversity. We’re facing a little bit of it here earlier. (The Panthers) are playing well and finding ways to win. We’ve got to get ourselves on the winning side of the ledger here and build our own confidence.”
“Guys are more comfortable with what we’re doing an where we’re going,” added Jets captain Andrew Ladd. “Sometimes it takes time, sometimes it snaps in quickly. We played really well last game (in 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay Lightning). We did what we wanted and we just couldn’t find a way to get one by him (Dwayne Roloson).”
Not only is this the first meeting between new Southeast Division rivals, it also marks the first time Craig Ramsay — who was head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers last season — will face the franchise that didn’t retain him and instead hired Noel.
“I did get a chance to just nod and just chat for a second with a couple of the guys,” said Ramsay. “I wish them well, other than tonight I wish them success.”
At the time he was let go, Ramsay expressed some disappointment about how things played out, but he has either turned the page or wasn’t interested in discussing that topic on Monday.
“Hockey is a business just like every other business,” said Ramsay. “Businesses have things that happen. In this case, it was new in my experience. It was different. I’ve moved around but this is the first time I had the team move. So whatever happens after that, after the team decides to sell and move, that’s beyond my control.”
The Jets will start Ondrej Pavelec in goal, while the Panthers counter with Jose Theodore.
Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey (upper-body) was on the ice Monday but won’t likely be ready for game action for a few more days.