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Plenty of blame to go around for Jets woes, not just Noel

That Claude Noel was fired Sunday comes as no big surprise.
Winnipeg Jets' head coach Claude Noel probably couldn't have squeezed many more winds out of his Jets squad, which will continue to be a challenge for new head coach Paul Maurice unless some player changes are made. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

That Claude Noel was fired Sunday comes as no big surprise.

The Jets have felt like a team in need of help for weeks and weeks (and looked like one for much longer, but really felt like one for weeks). And there's plenty of blame to go around with just as much angst to ease.

From my view, the constant one step forward and one step back on the ice has had the players shaken from searching for answers and waiting for outside help — a trade to give them more to battle with, for example.

Clearly, some players have under-performed, but at a point there's only so much that can be done without depth/competition. Players aren't coaches or managers, all they want to do is play and experience success.

Tap-dancing around .500, until this recent skid, also has fans increasingly frustrated — 100% their right for all they spend to support their team.

GM Kevin Cheveldayoff admits he could have done more to help Noel and the team, but in the end he felt it was time for a change to move things forward.

Cheveldayoff is a smart hockey man with a big-picture plan, but his current roster just isn't equipped to get by while the prospect pool grows and develops. Paul Maurice, or anyone in the role, will need help.

So, is Claude Noel to blame for the current state if the Jets? No. Could he have gotten more than 80-79-18 out of the team? Maybe. But not much more.

Cutting him loose now is simply the most immediate action to attempt to initiate change.

Thanks for your time Claude, you are a wise hockey soul and a pleasure to deal with but your profession is a cruel one.

Now you'll be like the rest of us watching to see just how that big-picture takes shape.

About the Author

Mitch Peacock

Mitch Peacock joined CBC News: Winnipeg in 2008 and covers the Jets, Blue Bombers, university and local sports extensively for web, TV and radio. Mitch has also served many national roles with CBC Sports. Highlights include four years as a rinkside reporter for Hockey Night In Canada, co-host of FIFA World Cup coverage, and play-by-play of freestyle skiing from the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.