Paul Maurice resigns as head coach of Winnipeg Jets

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WINNIPEG — Paul Maurice says the Winnipeg Jets need a “new voice” to listen to.

Maurice resigned as the Jets head coach Friday morning, leaving the NHL team he took over in January 2014 from Claude Noel.

Dave Lowry, an assistant under Maurice, has agreed to serve as Winnipeg’s interim head coach for the rest of the season, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said.

The Jets are 13-10-5, but just 4-7-2 over their last 13 games, including Tuesday's embarrassing 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on home ice.

They host the Washington Capitals Friday night,

“This isn’t necessarily a bunch of negative things that stacked up on this,” Maurice said at press conference after the team announced his decision.

“This was, I’ve pushed as long and as hard as I can here. I love these guys. They need a new voice, and I know that.”

The 54-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., compiled a 315-223-62 record in exactly 600 games with Winnipeg. He was the second-longest serving NHL coach after Tampa Bay Lightning’s Jon Cooper.

“Even in the real disappointing losses, I thought we worked,” Cheveldayoff said after Maurice talked to the media.

“A lot of times you hear the terms … ‘he lost the room’ and stuff like that. I really didn’t think that the guys ever stopped working and I don’t think they ever stopped listening. Did they stop hearing? It’s semantics, but I think there is a different thing.”

The Jets, who are three points back of the Edmonton Oilers for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, had signed Maurice to a multi-year extension in February 2020.

The club made the playoffs five times during his tenure. Maurice guided the Jets to 2017-18 Western Conference final, which Winnipeg lost in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Maurice started his NHL coaching career with the Hartford Whalers in 1995 at age 29. He remained with the organization when it moved to Carolina to become the Hurricanes.

Maurice was fired by Carolina in 2003 before being hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to coach their American Hockey League affiliate in 2005. He became head coach of the Leafs in 2006 after the team fired Pat Quinn, but only lasted two seasons in Toronto.

Maurice was rehired by Carolina in December 2008, and remained there until he was let go a second time in 2011.

He then coached one season in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League in 2012-13 before the Jets hired him.

His 775 career wins places him sixth all-time among NHL coaches.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2021.

Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

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