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Slumping Jets not ready to blow roster apart

Kenndal McArdle of the Winnipeg Jets goes flying into the Florida Pantherss bench in NHL action at the MTS Centre on Thursday night.

Marianne Helm/2011 Getty Images

As bad as things are for the Winnipeg Jets, head coach Claude Noel doesn't think it's time to start trading away players and start over.

"I don't think we need to come in and blow everything up," Noel said today after the Jets practised before flying to Columbus for a game tomorrow against the Blue Jackets. "We have enough parts to make the parts go."

The Jets got hammered 5-2 Thursday by the Florida Panthers in Winnipeg's first home game in two weeks. The team played horribly in the first two periods, and only mounted something of comeback in the third. The Jets remain last in their division and sunk to second last overall in the Eastern Conference with 13 points.

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Noel bristled after the game about his players poor performance. He had calmed down somewhat this morning and tried to keep positive outlook.

"Last night's game was an identifying moment for our team I think. The comfort level set in and we have what we have and we know what we have...We're going to move forward."

His message to his players today was: "Let's just deal with reality here. This is what we are."

That may sound ominous, but Noel believes his players can get better and want to get better. It's all about looking in that mirror.

"My task is to get our team to look in the mirror. And my task is to get you as an individual player to look at yourself and deal with reality. This is what you are. Now they don't sometimes see that. People have different levels when it comes to that. There are people who choose to, may be live in a house with not many mirrors. So we have to provide them. That's okay that's fine."

As for taking drastic action and moving out players, Noel said that won't necessarily work.

"I don't think you have to sit here and blow the whole thing up. That's not the problem. Right now we need to raise some things and that's taking place now. It's taking shape now."

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It's all going to take time, he added. The players "are good people. They mean well. You've got to give them direction. It'll get done."

One big issue for the Jets on Saturday will be goaltending. Ondrej Pavelec had been sharp for much of the road trip and can be credited for saving several games. But he faltered Thursday and got yanked after two periods. The Jets have back up goalie Chris Mason back from injury and he could start or at least see some significant playing time on Saturday in Columbus.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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