Monday, May 14, 2018

How the Winnipeg Jets built a Stanley Cup contender

Paul Maurice five years ago experienced a hockey insight in the corridor of the arena Continental Hockey League.

"His parents passed away, he had a brother with special needs, which he cared about himself, and he played hockey," recalled Maurice. "He was just a great kid, and he played (well). I wanted to admit it and could not, because there was absolutely no English. Perhaps I had more Russian than he had English.

Now the head coach of Winnipeg Jets, who will look 2-0 against the Golden Knights of Vegas in the game of the 2nd final of the Western Conference on Monday, Maurice may have had an even more important moment of clarity, working as an assistant for Ralph Krueger with the European team in the championship of the world in hockey in 2016.

"We were fine, but we played a very simple game, we trained in a simple style and had a good success," he added. "As a staff (Jets), we spent the whole summer figuring out the simplest thing that we can do to make our group good - in all areas of all zones, in all parts of our game. when we talk about these things. We felt that this was the only way we could play faster, and we had speed.

"It started in Russia, perhaps with some message, but at the World Championships with Ralph, kind of like the light left, I still cut 130 (video) clips. Ralph allowed me to show 10 that I considered insane, but he was on something. "

This communication and simplicity are the big reasons why young, fast and skillful planes are one of the four NHL teams that are still playing.

They ordered Minnesota Wild in five games to open the playoffs before going past the victorious Presidents of Nashville Predators in a grueling, backward series that passed the distance.

"We are a team that skates well and has the confidence to play those games that are," said Maurice, whose club ranked second in the regular season. "When we are in our game, we make the right choice."

So, what does he now appreciate about being three wins from the final prize compared to when he first got into the league?

"How damn hard it is to get there," said Maurice. "The short answer is special. You want to be in a better condition, you want to act in the best light, players, coaches, we all want our game "A".

"But we want to be able to enjoy the process of preparing for this."

"This is what you saw in Game 7 from us," he said. "What we have come to is that, yes, there is a lot of pressure, and this is a big stage, but they found a way to have fun before the puck fell to be delighted with it."

other teams of Maurice worked and polished from the results, but this one is different.

"The most experienced group I've ever coached, and it really would not be close," he said. "It's much more fun to train such a group. We do not cope with mistakes. We are trying to find places to be good. "

And good - more than good, really - what they were this season, and in the playoffs for the coach, which has changed over time, and can not imagine anywhere else.

"You can not swear to work in many places, I do not think so. I'm now attached to her. "

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