It's a tough day around the Winnipeg Jets dressing rooms and around the True North Sports & Entertainment offices, after the heart-breaking loss to the Ottawa Senators last night at the MTS Centre. Their playoff hopes have slipped further away and now the eighth place spot seems a lot further away.
"Today is a hard day for the players and the staff," said coach Claude Noel. "It's hard because we just finished a three in four nights with travel, and the emotional roller-coaster of the game and the disappointment of the game is tough to deal with today. The players are tired, spent, and physically fatigued."
The same words echoed around the dressing room from player to player.
"Sometimes the hockey gods are cruel," Blake Wheeler told media Tuesday morning. "That's what we learned from last night. There's games throughout the year when maybe you squeak out points that maybe you don't deserve and there are games where you think you deserve a better fate than you got. I think last night fell into the later part of that.
"It's heart-breaking almost," he said. "You put everything you have into it and when you look at the end result and say, that's not the way it's supposed to go. You take the result with a grain of salt but sometimes you can play half as well as we did yesterday and the results are there, but for whatever reason, they are not there right now."
TIME TO REGROUP
The mood in the room was although no-doubt disappointed, there was a strong feeling of refocus and regrouping as a team. The feeling was: it's not over until it's over.
A few players and coaches took to the ice this morning for an optional skate. The bright side of today was that injured Chris Thorburn and Nik Antropov were part of that skate. Other skaters on the ice today were: Jim Slater, Ben Maxwell, Spencer Machacek, Mark Flood, Mark Stuart, Grant Clitsome, Randy Jones and Chris Mason in net.
"Tomorrow is another day and we have to regroup," said Noel. "Today they need to do whatever they need to do and same with the coaching staff. Tomorrow the sun comes up and we have to look forward to getting back to work and playing the Rangers, a tough team- a new challenge. Strap it on and let's go. That's what you have to do."
Evander Kane tied things up last night at 17:03 of the third period as his line crashed the net and it paid off. The very next shift, the Senators scored to regain their lead and crush the Jets' hopes of forcing overtime.
"You wake up the next morning after a loss like that and you have to think about the next game," said Kane. "It's something you have to put in your rear-view mirror and forget about because we have to move forward and just try to finish out the season strong. We can't quit, and we're not going to. We have six games left and we have to try to win them all."
"It's a disappointing day today but we still have games to play and still have time left," said Wheeler. "We have to come to work tomorrow with a new attitude and be ready to play and hopefully that helps us get over the disappointment from last night."
Even though the hike to get into a playoff spot looks like Mt. Everest today, there is still hope and the season isn't over until the very last game.
"It's not like we're eliminated yet," said Bryan Little. "There is still a slight hope but like I said, we can't be talking about making the playoffs and being so worried about it, we just have to try to play our best hockey and win as many games as we can."