One name that comes to mind when we talk about the Winnipeg Jets is that of revered coach Paul Maurice. He has been at the helm of the team since 2013 and has brought them to the playoffs three times. His leadership and strategic prowess have made him a fan favorite and a respected figure in the world of hockey. However, with success comes high expectations, and when those expectations are not met, changes are often inevitable. The Winnipeg Jets have recently undergone a major coaching change that has left many wondering about its impact on the team’s performance.
In late January of 2021, the Winnipeg Jets announced that they had parted ways with their assistant coach, Todd Woodcroft. This move came as a surprise to many, as Woodcroft was seen as a key contributor to the team’s success. His strong relationships with players and ability to motivate them were highly praised. So, what prompted this decision and how will it affect the team’s performance? Let’s dive in.
Woodcroft joined the Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach in 2019 after serving as the head coach for the University of Vermont men’s hockey team. In his two and a half years with the team, he played a crucial role in molding their young talent and developing a strong game strategy. However, as the saying goes, coaching is a results-driven business, and the Winnipeg Jets have not had the best results in recent years.
After reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2018, the Jets have failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs. Some fans and analysts have attributed this to the team’s lack of depth in their defense and goaltending. However, others have pointed to the coaching staff’s inability to make necessary changes and adjustments during crucial moments. This is where the impact of Woodcroft’s departure may come into play.
The Winnipeg Jets have seen a decrease in their power play success rate in recent years, dropping from top-ten in the league to bottom-five. This is where Woodcroft’s expertise shined, and his departure could greatly affect the team’s special teams’ performance. Additionally, with the shortened 2020-2021 season, the team has had to adapt to a condensed schedule and face challenges such as injury and fatigue. Having a strong coaching staff that can make necessary changes and keep players motivated is crucial in such demanding times.
In his place, the Jets have brought in Dave Lowry as their new assistant coach. Lowry has a wealth of experience in professional hockey, both as a player and a coach. He has served as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings and head coach for the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League. He also brings with him a reputation for being a disciplinarian, which could help in holding players accountable and fostering a strong team dynamic.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Woodcroft’s departure, many believe that Lowry’s presence could bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the team. His added experience and a new set of eyes could help the Jets better adapt to the changing landscape of the NHL. Additionally, with assistant coach Wade Flaherty remaining on the staff, there is a sense of familiarity and continuity for players.
In the end, the impact of this coaching change on the Winnipeg Jets’ performance is yet to be seen. Hockey, like any other sport, is unpredictable, and a multitude of factors can influence a team’s success. However, with the season approaching its tail end and playoffs looming, it is clear that the Jets are looking for any advantage they can get to secure a spot in the postseason.
As fans, we can only hope that the coaching change will bring positive results and rejuvenate the team’s performance. While it may not be as glamorous as a roster change, a strong coaching staff is just as crucial in achieving success. Ultimately, the players will have the final say on the ice, but the guidance and direction they receive from their coaches could be the difference maker.