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Jets' consistent lack of discipline made worse by lack of emotion

Last year, the Jets earned their playoff spot, says Hustler. They're also earning their standings this season.

Winnipeg Jets' head coach Paul Maurice and the bench erupt after seeing the replay of the Blake Wheeler (26) penalty and disallowed goal against the San Jose Sharks during third period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan

Winnipeg Jets' head coach Paul Maurice and the bench erupt after seeing the replay of the Blake Wheeler (26) penalty and disallowed goal against the San Jose Sharks during third period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

The Winnipeg Jets began the week back at home to begin a crucial stretch of their schedule with 9 of 10 games at MTS Centre. 

After two uninspired and, at times, lifeless performances in losses to Buffalo and San Jose to begin the home stand, Paul Maurice and Kevin Cheveldayoff find themselves with major fires to put out before the whole year goes up in flames.

When the Jets made the playoffs last year, they were lauded as a fast, physical team who no team would be able to beat easily. They worked as hard as any team in the league and earned every one of the 99 points it took to make the post season.  

Which makes the recent play of the team so disheartening to fans and certainly Jets management.

Coach Maurice didn’t have many answers after either loss this week, but it was obvious he was as frustrated as the customers that packed MTS Centre to witness consecutive duds from the Jets. But the questions for the coach won’t go away. 

Never mind the consistent lack of discipline that has killed the Jets all season, where is the emotion in a team that has every reason to play with a sense of urgency with their season in the balance?      

Every team will have a couple snoozers over the course of the season, but Sunday’s game against Buffalo was especially baffling. It seemed like the Jets did everything they could to avoid any talk of former Jet Evander Kane and treat the match up like “any other game.” They did such a good job, they turned a fired up MTS Centre into a library and watched Kane and the Sabres leave town with a 4-2 win. More of the same Tuesday as the Jets allowed a tired San Jose Sharks team playing the second of back-to-back road games to walk out with another two points. 

The recent losses also raise questions about the leadership group of the Jets. With the notable exception of Blake Wheeler, the core of the Jets has been inconsistent this season and hasn’t lived up to the standard set last year. The looming free agency of captain Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien certainly isn’t helping, but that is part of the business. The Jets are far from the only team in this situation.

The Jets record and uninspired play of late will likely push Kevin Cheveldayoff to move forward with significant moves before the deadline. This team could look very different come Mar.1 if things continue as they have been lately.

The Jets seem broken right now. Something isn’t right. The identity of the team that made the playoffs last year is completely missing. The coach and the players in the Jets’ dressing room need to get this turned around immediately or moves will be made with the future in mind and hockey conversations in Winnipeg will turn to the 2016 NHL draft.