NHL.com's weekly Q&A feature called "Five Questions With ..." runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game today and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.
NEW YORK -- Andrew Ladd is trying to lead the Winnipeg Jets out of the minefield of mediocrity, where teams tend to step in the wrong places by letting the highs feel too good and the lows happen too often.
Winnipeg's captain thinks the Jets should be better than they've been this season. He wants to believe the right pieces are in place to help them gather some momentum so they can start climbing in the Central Division.
Ladd also knows how big of a role he plays in the Jets' successes and failures. Winnipeg is 7-3-2 in games when Ladd gets at least one point, and 6-9-2 when he doesn't. The Jets are 13-12-4 overall, and Ladd isn't absolving himself of the blame for their average record.
Ladd spoke to NHL.com about his thoughts on his team, finding a way to play with consistency and a little bit about his Olympic dream prior to Winnipeg's 5-2 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
Here are Five Questions With … Andrew Ladd:
As a guy who has won the Stanley Cup twice, can you describe what it has been like going through the process now in Winnipeg of trying to build a winner, being at the forefront of it as the team's captain and dealing with the frustrations that come with it?
"It's frustrating losing. Everyone knows it's a lot more fun to play the game when you're winning games. So, it's frustrating. We want to win a lot more here. In saying that, it's a new challenge for me. I've had the opportunity to play in some different situations. The first team I was on (in Carolina) was veteran, and I had success there. Then it was going to a young team (in Chicago) with lots of talent that had to figure out how to win. Now we're trying to build something here. It's a new challenge. I enjoy it. I enjoy trying to push everybody and myself to take this team to new heights here.
"There is pressure, but the most pressure to win comes from me, to try to perform and help this team get to the next level. We have a lot of guys on the team that are the same way. You've gotta handle that in different ways. If you think about big picture sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, so you have to handle things on a day-to-day basis."
What are some reasons, some signs, that would allow you to be optimistic about this club now?
"To be honest, I think we've underperformed, so I guess the optimistic part of that is we have a lot more to give. I don't think our record is indicative of how good we can be. I think there is a long way to go. There is potential there to be a lot better, but it's up to us to achieve that.
"It's the details of being consistent within our game. We'll have a great game, then we'll have an average game. When you're playing average against teams in this League, your chances of winning on a nightly basis go down, especially with the conference we're in right now. I think it's just not selling yourself short and making sure we're coming up with consistent efforts night in and night out, battling."
Is that part of a team still being in the growing, building phase?
"No, I don't buy that. I think that's an excuse and something you can use as a crutch. We're all big boys. We know how to take care of ourselves. We know how to prepare. We know how we need to play. It's up to us individually and collectively as a group to make sure that happens."
It sounds like you believe there is enough talent in the room to take the Jets to the next level. So, how do you do it? How do you get to the next level? How do you move ahead of average?
"It's something where you try to push different buttons and try new things, and go from there. It's something you have to figure out as a group. I don't think there is one exact formula of being successful. It's something the guys in the room have to figure out and do it the right way. Once you find that success, I think it becomes a little bit contagious, and everybody starts to believe. Then you go from there."
You were one of 45 players at the Canadian Olympic orientation camp in August. It's December now, so have you been thinking about the Olympics, making Team Canada, and what you can add to the team if you are selected?
"Yeah it's something you think about for sure. It's hard not to. To make that team would be an unbelievable accomplishment and an honor, especially coming from a country with such high-end talent. Probably for a few years, I didn't think I'd have a hope in hell of being mentioned in the same sentence, so it's something you think about, but you realize as a player first and foremost you take care of what you need to take care of on the ice with your group and all the other stuff will fall in line.
"I think I'm a guy that has played on different teams and been comfortable in different roles, in lesser roles. My first go-round with Carolina, I played probably eight to 10 minutes a night and was an energy guy. With Chicago, I was more of a third-line checker and shut-down guy. I've played all sorts of roles. I try to play a two-way game, and hopefully that's something they see.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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