Jets aren’t sounding alarms after tough stretch

Jets aren’t sounding alarms after tough stretch

Breadcrumb Trail Left NHL Hockey Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness (right) listens to umpire Tom Chmielewski (18) during the second half against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Friday, January 13, 2023. Photo by Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sporting Goods Content

For Rick Bowness, he and his coaching staff have left no stone unturned when it comes to rest and recovery for his players.

advertising 2

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

With a brutal string of games, including a roster of eight out of nine played over what has essentially been a two-week road trip, it’s not hard to understand the challenges the Winnipeg Jets head coach has had to endure over the past few weeks and the last two months if you zoom out.

Regina Leader Post Headline News

By clicking the subscribe button, you agree to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails or any newsletter. Postmedia Network Inc | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300 Thank you for registering!

content of the article

The Jets played 16 games in December alone. The month has 31 days, but a three-day Christmas break was also built into the schedule, meaning those 16 games were played in 28 days.

January didn’t ease the team’s tight schedule much either, with 15 games in 29 days ahead of an 11-day break for the All-Star hiatus and subsequent bye week for the team.

But as Bowness outlined on Friday, the day after his team pulled a stinker at home in a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabers, that’s their reality right now.

advertising 3

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

And as much as they try to play all four lines and watch the team’s shift lengths and find as much calm as possible to tackle the challenges, there’s a limit.

“There still comes a point where the body and mind get a little tired and then you start making the mistakes that we are,” said the 68-year-old.

The last thing you want to do is offer a team an apology for their poor play, but sometimes it just so happens – it’s a legitimate explanation right now.

The lack of rest and recovery impacts countless facets of a team.

For example, you might prefer to train on a specific day, but that needs to be weighed against the benefits of allowing players to put their feet up.

But does batting practice also limit the chance to work through systemic issues that may have arisen over time? And are these systemic problems even systemic? Or are they the by-product of a team trying to deal with their exhaustion?

advertising 4

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

“It’s definitely a bit of both because the rest factor makes the systems and everything work a lot better and a lot faster,” Bowness said. “I’ve been in the league for a long time, but this is torture. This is also new for me. I’m learning a lot about playing again with 32 teams in Winnipeg.

For Bowness, whose career behind the bench has spanned the past five decades, there are still areas he needs to learn.

On Friday he spoke about the evolution of travel and the scarcity of training time that comes with a compressed schedule.

“But then again, you learn to live with it, you learn to find solutions through it all,” he said. “That’s what (for me) as a head coach, I have to find better solutions for the lads. That’s up to me too. Learning about this location in the league and the upcoming travel and compressed schedule was an eye opener.

advertising 5

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

“It’s a daily challenge.”

There is also a human component, as Blake Wheeler said after Friday’s practice at the Canada Life Centre.

Players have families at home, children they have only seen briefly in recent weeks.

“There’s definitely a wear factor that the guys have been going through a pretty tough schedule here in December and January, and certainly with the January trips,” Wheeler said. “I think there’s definitely that element there.”

Winnipeg’s game this season has been defined by their aggression. This has propelled them to the top tiers of the Central Division and the Western Conference.

But that aggression, Wheeler admitted, has turned to passivity as of late.

“We just don’t move. That’s the biggest thing,” he said. “And when we’re not moving, all of a sudden you see these pieces, but they don’t happen quite as quickly as when you’re moving. There’s just a lack of aggressiveness on the whole ice. And I think the pieces that are being flipped right now are pieces that we’ve been doing all year.”

advertising 6

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

The edges are so fine.

To get back on form, Bowness sat down with his players on Friday to find out what they were seeing.

Winnipeg’s defiant confidence wasn’t there, along with the swagger that came with stacking wins.

But as bad as it may look from the outside, especially when the team has lost four of their last six after previously winning eight of nine, nobody is hitting the panic button.

“It feels like we’re sounding a bit of an alarm here. I don’t think that’s the case,” said Josh Morrissey. “Obviously you don’t want to lose multiple games in a row and if you look at the last leg of this road trip you know you’re coming out under .500 on the road trip (2-3-0) but … I think we still have a lot of good ones Doing things.”

Some have posited that Winnipeg just needs to come for its 11-day hiatus, a window to unwind from the hustle and refocus the mind.

Is the solution that simple?

The last words go to the head coach.

“We’ll find out.”

[email protected]

Twitter: @scottbilleck

Share this article on your social network Ad 1

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.


Postmedia strives to maintain a vibrant but civilized forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour to be moderated before they appear on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve turned on email notifications – you’ll now receive an email when you get a reply to your comment, there’s an update on a comment thread you follow, or when a user you follow comments follows. For more information and details on how to customize your email settings, see our Community Guidelines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *