Maurice met with the media to explain why he has made the decision to leave and said that the Jets are a very good team but they’ve consistently performed under where they could be of late. He stated that he believes it’s time for a new voice behind the bench in Winnipeg, despite noting that he doesn’t believe the team “quit” on him. Maurice spoke with general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff about the situation last summer, and there was no single breaking point, just that there needed to be a new voice.
The veteran coach is proud of the work he did in Winnipeg, explaining that he believes he helped take them from a “bottom 10 situation to a top 10 situation.” He mentioned the “law of diminishing returns” to explain that when he pushes a button now, he doesn’t get quite the same reaction.
Maurice had been the second longest-tenured coach in the NHL, behind only Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He had another year on his contract with the Jets, though it was an option that will obviously now not be exercised. He explained that he’s not embarrassed by this decision and “feels good” that he doesn’t have a game to coach tonight or a job to chase tomorrow. He noted that may be the first time in 26 years that he has felt that way.
It’s been “more of a grind” for Maurice to come to the rink the last two years, as the excitement has waned for him after a long career. That was especially true during last year’s season without fans; the coach asked the collected media “what’s the point” without the energy in the building.
To sum it up, Maurice said this:
I just don’t want to watch those guys fight for the rest of the year, when I think they could be better with someone else.
Cheveldayoff explained that Lowry is expected to serve as head coach the rest of the season.