Is Claude Noel in trouble in Winnipeg?

Doug Pensinger

The Winnipeg Jets aren't taking steps in the right direction in the eyes of their coach. That can't be good news for the coach.

The Winnipeg Jets lost again on Tuesday, dropping a rather lifeless 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning to extend the Jets' current losing skid to four games.

After the game, coach Claude Noel didn't hold back when analyzing the performance of his team.

"This game was very poorly played and poorly executed," Noel told the media. "I don't think we got anything positive out of it.

"Playing like that, we're not taking steps in the right direction. For me, we've got a ways to go there."

When he says it was poorly played and poorly executed, he's not wrong. Even though the game was tied 2-2 until midway through the third period (they even held a 2-1 lead at one point), when Martin St. Louis scored a pair of goals for the Lightning the Jets looked completely out of it and never seemed to mount even a decent threat of scoring.

For the game, Winnipeg managed just 14 shots on goal, and didn't break into double-digits until there were less than eight minutes to play in the third period.

The shot attempt chart, via Extra Skater, shows just how lopsided the game was from a territorial perspective:

Screen_shot_2014-01-08_at_10

Even when they were winning they were getting dominated.

The problem here, and the problem with Noel openly admitting that steps aren't being taken with performances like this, is that the Jets stink this year. That much is already clear and anybody that even casually follows the league knows it. They aren't going to the postseason and are headed for their third straight non-playoff season since moving to Winnipeg, all of which have come under the guidance of Noel.

If Winnipeg is not going to make the playoffs, they should at least be showing signs of improvement and something that they can build on for future seasons. Otherwise, what's the point of keeping everything the same and continuing to slam one's head into the glass ceiling?

The Jets are not only not getting better this season, pretty much everything has regressed, both in the standings  and when it comes to their underlying numbers (puck possession, in particular).

A team that will have missed the playoffs three straight years since its relocation to a  new city, has a number of core players signed to long-term, big-money contracts, shouldn't still have, by the admission of the coach, "a ways to go" when it comes to taking steps in the right direction.

In a league where coaches have a ridiculously short shelf life with one team, you just don't get that much time.

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