The Winnipeg Jets missed the playoffs last season and their new head coach Rick Bowness intends to take the necessary steps to bring the club back to the desired respectability.
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Already, the Manitoba organization has sent a powerful first message to the troops by stripping veteran Blake Wheeler of his captaincy. Obviously, this is not the time for jokes and the tourists within the team will pack their bags very quickly. Players will get time on merit, guaranteed Bowness, hired during the offseason.
“Look, I’m the head instructor and that’s all I know how to do. So I will show up to do my job, he said Thursday, according to remarks broadcast by the Sportsnet network. The reasonable goal is to be ready for the season. We do not have the choice. As the guys were told, they have to get to the rink every day and they better be willing to work. They will have to adhere to what we want.
“Because that’s what will matter by October 14 [jour du premier match des Jets en 2022-2023] : they will be those who commit the most, who try harder, who pay attention to detail and who are on the same wavelength. We put everything on the table, so that means being lit every day,” he insisted.
Veterans on the alert
The color bearers of the formation believing their position cast in stone risk having a bad surprise if they do not keep their foot on the accelerator at training camp. Bowness will reward the most convincing, notwithstanding their years of experience.
“We missed the playoffs last year, so everything is open and that’s fine for me. There is a new coaching staff here and I have seen several of these players as an opposing driver. So, to those thinking I’ll do this or that and that’ll be enough, well, I’ll say there’s nothing given, he warned. We will really give everyone a chance. The guys who do well in the sessions and show good chances will get an opportunity to show their skills.
Will the chief instructor’s men follow the recommendations? The next few months will tell, but goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is full of good intentions.
“I will do everything to win games. When a new coach comes in with a proven philosophy, that’s fine with me. I am very excited about what we will do and this is just the beginning.”