Noel was hired by the Jets after the move from Atlanta ahead of the 2011-2012 season and posted a record of 80-79-18. His firing comes as the club finds itself in a five-game losing streak with a record of 19-23-5 on the season – 10 points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Jets also fired assistant coach Perry Pearn.
“I think it always comes as a shock,” Jets captain Andrew Ladd said.”I don’t think anyone expected it this morning so it’s not an easy day. Two good people lose their job. Ultimately, it came down to the performance of all the guys in here. It’s tough for everyone.”
Maurice has been hired until the end of the current season, at which point the Jets will evaluate what they need as a franchise. He’ll debut behind the bench on Monday as the club faces off against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Maurice has coached 1,084 games in the National Hockey League for the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise and also the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’ll be stepping into a tough hockey market, which makes his T-Dot experience all the more valuable.
“This is a tough market to play,” forward Olli Jokinen said. “Any Canadian market you play, you know expectations are high. You’ve got a lot of media attention, you’ve got 15,000 GMs watching the games and another couple 100,000 at home. So it’s a place, or any Canadian market, that you as a player you have to put all that aside and focus on doing your job the best you can. That’s all that you can do.”
The Jets find themselves in a position where they have to start winning. The nostalgia period is over and fans have once again gotten used to having a team in Winnipeg, so it’s no longer good enough for the team to bask in the warm glow. They have to start putting together some victories and making a run at the post-season, which is where Maurice (hopefully) comes in.
But the coach obviously has his work cut out for him. The Jets are a defensively poor hockey team that requires more than a little tightening up. Goaltending is an issue, as it puck management. Maurice, fresh from a commentating stint on TSN, will have to hammer home his message in order to find a way to get his players to step things up.
“Ultimately, we’re the ones on the ice not getting the job done,” said Blake Wheeler. “I think we’re all responsible, but I think as players we need to look at ourselves. This is an indication of the product we’re putting on the ice right now.”