Jets coach Rick Bowness calls out effort of some players after loss to Sharks

The Jets coach said some players "are dreaming" if they think they're giving their best effort.

You can always count on coaches to be brutally honest, and Winnipeg's Rick Bowness provided the latest example of that after the Jets lost 3-0 to the bottom-feeding San Jose Sharks on the road Tuesday night.

After starting off the season with a 20-9-1 record and on pace for more than 50 wins, the Jets have dropped into a scramble for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Their record in the last 20 games has been a measly 7-12-2, the seventh worst in the league during that span. The Sharks entered the night on a nine-game losing streak and with only one win in 15 games, which also came against the Jets in early in March.

“Well, I’d say we created enough scoring chances. The offence gave us a chance to win the game, we just didn’t score. Then, the inconsistencies with some of our players is hurting us,” said Bowness after the loss. “Some of these guys think they’re giving us everything in their tank, they’re dreaming.

"We have a lot of guys in there giving us everything they can. We just need a few more guys to jump on board. It’s not over. We’re still in eighth spot. We’re going to find out what we’re made of over the next little while.”

The Winnipeg Jets are clinging on to the final wild-card spot in the West. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Winnipeg Jets are clinging on to the final wild-card spot in the West. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bowness has not been above sitting players he feels qualify for that statement, even if they’re stars. Winger Nikolaj Ehlers only played 13:50 on Tuesday after getting bumped down the lineup following a subpar performance against the Kings on Saturday. Mark Scheifele leads the team with 38 goals this season, but hasn’t scored in his last nine and was stapled to the bench for 12 minutes against the Carolina Hurricanes two weeks ago.

“We’re paid to produce, so we have to produce. That’s the simplest way to put it,” said Scheifele. “I just gotta try to keep on working hard, try to keep my head up and stay positive, and that goes for every guy in this room. We’ve got to stay positive for each other.”

Offence has been tough to come by for the Jets. Along with Scheifele's struggles, Blake Wheeler hasn't scored in 21 games and only has nine points over that stretch. Kyle Connor, who scored 47 goals a year ago, only has one in his last 14 games. Pierre-Luc Dubois has one goal in his last 10. Winnipeg's power play has unsurprisingly been ice cold as a result, converting only once in the last 30 attempts.

Coupled with Calgary's win over Los Angeles and Nashville's win over Boston, Tuesday's loss in San Jose leaves the Jets just two points ahead of the Flames for the final wild-card spot. The Jets will host the Flames next Wednesday in what will be a crucial game in the Western Conference playoff race.