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DENVER — Oh, to be a fly on the wall.
No, we’ll likely never know the specifics of what was said inside the Winnipeg Jets dressing room during a lengthy closed-door meeting immediately following Tuesday night’s lacklustre 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
But as players not named Blake Wheeler met with media for the first time Thursday, one thing became clear: it was completely necessary.
Veteran forward Mathieu Perreault admitted they haven’t exactly been on the same page lately.
“Maybe a little bit, yeah. We’ve been losing games. We just want to win games. So, we had a chat about what we gotta do here to start winning games again. That’s the goal here, to win hockey games,” Perreault said following the morning skate prior to their game against the Colorado Avalanche.
“We just kind of addressed the situation that we’re in, tried to find solutions together on how to get out of it. That’s kind of what happened.”
So, did he like what he heard?
“It was good. It will be good going forward,” he said.
Defenceman Jacob Trouba said it was good to get everything out in the open.
“It’s obviously important. We’ve got to get on the same page in here. We’re definitely in a better spot now than we were prior and that’s important, but we’ve got to go out there. The game is played on the ice. You can say the right things and act the right way, but you’ve got to go out there and play and work and show that this team is coming together,” Trouba said.
“Just keeping our consistent belief that we know how good this team can be. And we know what we have to do to be that good. We’ve shown stretches of it. This year, we’ve had stretches where we’re really good. We’ve got to work our way out of what we’re in right now. A little bit of hard work and some focus and some sharpness would go a long way.”
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First place, second place or third place. Home-ice advantage or not. Dallas, St. Louis or Nashville. Put Perreault in the camp of those who don’t think it’s ultimately a big deal where the Jets end up, or who they open the playoffs against.
More important is how the team is playing.
“Not that I think it matters that much anymore. When playoffs start it’s on, doesn’t matter where you play, the game’s played on the ice. So, we just want to have that good feeling going into the playoffs right now,” Perreault said.
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Jets head coach Paul Maurice broke out the line blender Thursday in an attempt to jump-start his sluggish team.
Only the top unit of Mark Scheifele between Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor stayed intact as they met the Avs.
Perreault was moved up to the second line to play with Kevin Hayes and Nikolaj Ehlers. Patrik Laine moved down to the third line to play with Bryan Little and Andrew Copp. And, in a twist, it was Little who moved back to centre, while Copp moved back to the wing. The fourth line was Adam Lowry between Jack Roslovic and Par Lindholm, who replaced the injured Brandon Tanev.
“That excites me, get a chance to play a different role, with different guys. It’s always fun for me. Hopefully other guys see it that way. Hopefully we bring that energy into the game. It’s a new challenge, so it should be fun,” Perreault said of the new-look lines.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.