“Get the heck out of town”: that was Blake Wheeler’s response when asked what the Winnipeg Jets needed to do after a 7-1 drubbing Saturday night in Montreal.
Let’s be clear – any team can have one of those nights, a night when nothing goes right for the hockey club and it just isn’t there.
Down a handful of goals with no hope of coming back, players’ shoulders start to slump and thoughts of how to get through the game run through the mind.
Messaging between periods from Paul Maurice would be that he doesn’t care if the score is 10-1, it’s about how the team plays the rest of the game – how the team finishes. To keep playing hard, to keep playing to the team’s identity.
Because it’s that finish, that work ethic until the bitter end that will spill over into the next game – not the loss, but how the team handled the adversity.
Did the team rise to the challenge and finish the 60 minutes as strong as they could, even when they knew that there was no victory or two points to be had?
Players are excellent at parking a loss and moving on.
Yes, they’ll have to talk about it and look at what went wrong but it will be done through the lens of preparation as the team forgets the loss, but does not lose the lessons.