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Embarrassed Jets Struggle To Find Answers

By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck

Embarrassing is probably the best G-rated word that could describe the Winnipeg Jets performance on Tuesday night. Mark Stuart certainly agreed, as did his teammates.

Mark Stuart. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Mark Stuart. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

You need not look at Stuart more than a few seconds to know a face that is stricken with depression. After his teams latest loss — a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Jets fourth-straight — that depression has swept over the locker room, it’s players and the team as a whole.

“There is no energy,” said Stuart. “When you come back from the road, you lose three games and we come back to our building in front of our fans and we get what? 12 shots on net. Yeah.

“I feel like there has been too many low points, it is hard to not sound like a broken record. I don’t know what to say to tell you the truth, I feel like I get in front of you and say the same thing every time. It gets exhausting.

“It has got to come down to the individual. You have got to find a way get yourself ready, get going.”

Stuart didn’t want to get into “fixes” on the night. When asked if the team should bench some players or if it was a coaching issue, he replied “I don’t want to get into it, that is not my job.” When pushed further, frustration boiled over and Stuart retreated from the scrum.

Ondrej Pavelec. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Ondrej Pavelec. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Ondrej Pavelec was pretty candid on the night as well. Pavelec made 23 saves on 26 shots, often “hung out to dry” according to his teammates. Pavelec describe the loss in a predictable way.

“I don’t have any thoughts, it is embarrassing,” he said. “We have to realize we aren’t losing by accident anymore, it is just the way we play, we can’t expect it to be success anymore. It wasn’t our game.

“I don’t think we showed up tonight…we didn’t have much. We deserve it, we get what we deserved; it was a tough one. We have to realize that the fans paid for tickets to this one.

“Every loss is tough, every loss is frustrating. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, it is what it is. We have to deal with it. It was too easy for them.”

Claude Noel. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Claude Noel. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Claude Noel skipped his normal post-game recap when he stepped up to the podium on the heels of the loss. Obviously disgruntled, Noel praised nothing his team did, and bemoaned almost everything.

“This game was a very poorly played, poorly executed game,” said Noel. “I don’t think we got anything out of that that was positive, it was very disappointing.

“It was probably the worst we’ve played, we had nothing. We got no play out of very little, so for me it is not a good day.”

Noel wouldn’t blame individuals on the night. “I am not going to sit there and throw our best players under the bus, not going to happen.”

“Obviously, there is some things that have to be assessed here.”

Whether or not Kevin Cheveldayoff will be assessing the role of Noel is anyone’s guess, but if the Jets keep losing it can only be a matter of time.

Scott’s Scribbles: Blake Wheeler left the game momentarily in the second period after blocking a Sami Salo shot but returned shortly after…Dustin Byfuglien was on for every goal — two for, three against — besides the empty net marker and was a minus-two on the night…Eric O’Dell had a two second shift in the second period and then sat on the bench for the rest of the game…Similarly, Devon Setoguchi played just two seconds as well in the second frame and played just a minute more in the third.

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