The Turning Point

| February 10, 2012 | 1 Comment

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

If and its a big if,  the Jets make the Playoffs last nights game against the Caps will be seen as the moment when the Jets ascended to the post season. There was one moment when I think this team decided that it was ready to be a contender. And even if the Jets fail to make the playoffs that moment I think can be a defining moment for the franchise.

The Jets are down by two with just over a few minutes left in the game. The Caps take a penalty and Claude Noel much to the chagrin of the guys on TV made a gutsy call.

He pulled his goalie.

Conventional wisdom says that it was too soon to pull Pave. If the Caps get a hold of the puk they could attempt a shot at the open net and even if the miss then its not icing. A lot of coaches would wait until later to pull his goalie but Noel had an idea and it was brilliant.

He knew his team was struggling. He knew that they had trouble putting the puck in the net, yet he put the entire game in their hands. He gave them the vote of confidence that this team badly needed.

Now thats not saying the Jets didn’t get a little lucky. Brooks Laich’s stick snaps in half and he plays the puck in full view of the ref. This gave the Jets a 6 on 3 advantage and the Jets were able to make the Caps pay. They scored and then on the ensuing face off Big Buff scores from centre ice.

None of this happens if Noel doesn’t make the call to pull Pav. The Jets probably lose the game and would be 5pts out of the playoffs. The local media would have had a field day with talk of lack of scoring and lack of talent.

As soon as Noel gave his team that vote of confidence they responded. They played with a new found fire in the OT frame and looked like they could keep pace with the high powered Caps. Even at the end both Buff and Tanner Glass took game saving penalties. The Jets played with passion and thats what lead them to victory.

During the course of a game there isn’t a lot a coach can do to help his team win. Its mostly up to the players. Yet last night Claude Noel showed that by believing and trusting your team you can empower them to find the will to win.

Go Jets Go!

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  1. Mark Snowdon says:

    The hockey world wrote this season for the Jets and keep calling them names like “Thrashers North” etc to belittle them, but this team is a different team, with a new outlook at life. Yes most of the players are the same, but look at the way they have come together. The coaching is what has led to this new direction. Claude Noel has stuck to his defensive structure and this vote of confidence he gave them in last nights game is further proof of his head being in the right place. Some players would have shook their heads and assumed the coach was throwing away the game, but these boys didn’t, they responded and came back. They seem to respect the man and want to please him. With the exception of airing some dirty laundry a few weeks back, Noel has done a good job, and should have a shot at “Coach of the year” if he can get the Jets into the playoffs.

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