January 14, 2012
Are Jets a bunch of 'losers'?
By PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - So thanks to Mike Cammalleri, we know the Montreal Canadiens are losers.
They prepare for games like losers, they play games like losers — so it’s no wonder they lose.
That was the gist of Cammalleri’s last interview in Montreal before he was shipped to Calgary, Thursday.
Never mind that his controversial comments, made in English, were translated for a French newspaper, then back to English again, before they appeared.
It turns out Cammalleri simply suggested the Habs have a “losing mentality.”
Which brings us to the Winnipeg Jets.
Based on various comments by various people at various times this season, this might also be a team with a losing mentality.
The most recent came Friday, when forward Nik Antropov might not have used the term “losers,” but did suggest the struggling Jets have a bit of a defeatist attitude these days.
“Everybody saw how we felt,” Antropov said, in the wake of a 2-0 loss to San Jose. “After the second goal they scored, there was a feeling on our bench, ‘Here we go again.’”
With four losses in their last five games, the fear now is that after a glorious December in which the Jets all but shed the loser label they brought from Atlanta, remnants of it remain.
Like that stuff you can’t completely remove after peeling a sticker off a jar.
“We haven’t had the right team chemistry,” is how Kyle Wellwood sees the current slide. “We didn’t work together well. When that happens guys find it harder to work for each other.”
Antropov and Wellwood have the advantage of seeing part of the problem in the mirror, every day.
The former hasn’t scored a goal in his last 10 games, the latter in his last 11.
It’s not like they’re ducking the facts, either.
“Disappointing,” is how Antropov described his play of late. “I know what I can do. I want to contribute, but it’s not happening. I just have to play simple game, grinding game, and hopefully it’s going to go in.”
Wellwood says this kind of drought is all too familiar for him.
“Numbers will tell the story,” he said. “I’m not on the minus side, but the points aren’t there.”
Just like they haven’t been there for offensive players like Alexander Burmistrov (six games, one assist), Evander Kane (six games, two assists) and virtually the entire third and fourth lines.
Already victim to five shutouts this season, it seems the Jets get discouraged simply when they don’t score first.
“We get down a goal and it’s like it’s not going to happen,” Blake Wheeler said. “And three of those shutouts have come in the last week. So that’s even more painful. We’ve gotta kind of get over ourselves. Figure out these tic-tac-toe plays aren’t working right now. But if we put the work boots back on and get some dirty goals, maybe some of that will start opening up again.”
After Thursday’s loss to the Sharks, head coach Claude Noel was worried about his team’s morale, figuring he’d have some work to do to pick it up off the floor.
Wheeler, who acknowledged his own poor game the night before, took that notion and fired it over the boards.
“To be pouting and pointing fingers and doing all that bull---- is not what we need right now,” he said.
“We need guys that are gonna stare at this. There’s definitely adversity. We’re definitely playing tough competition, and losing is never fun. So all that stuff rolled into one, we need a group of guys that’s going to fight right through it.”
No, Wheeler doesn’t want anybody feeling sorry for themselves.
“Down is for losers.”
And nobody has said the Jets are losers.