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Maurice signs contract extension to remain Jets coach

Winnipeg one point out of second wild card in Western Conference @NHLdotcom

Paul Maurice signed a multiyear contract extension to remain coach of the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

Maurice is in his seventh season with the Jets (29-24-5), who are one point behind the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"Over the last couple of months, [Jets general manager] Kevin [Cheveldayoff] told me what they were thinking, I told them what I was thinking, they made me an offer and I accepted it," Maurice said. "I think this is the fourth contract. The entire negotiating time for the last four contracts has been about 10 minutes, in truth. They've always been very fair to me and I'm exceptionally happy here. So, it's a good fit."

Since being hired by the Jets to replace Claude Noel on Jan. 12, 2014, the 53-year-old is 264-186-53 in 503 games. Winnipeg has reached the playoffs three times in his five full seasons. The Jets lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 Western Conference Final and to the St. Louis Blues in six games in the 2019 Western Conference First Round.

"He's a guy that all the players want to play for," Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said. "He understands that each year you have a new group of guys, each player is a different person. What works for Player 'A' might not work for Player 'B.' He's adapted.

"He understands the situation, the time of the year, all those sorts of things. Because of that, I don't think the message ever gets stagnant. That's what makes him such a great coach."

Maurice became the seventh coach to win 700 regular-season NHL games when the Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 in a shootout on Oct. 20. His 724 wins are second among active coaches behind Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders (843), and he's sixth all-time in games coached with 1,587.

Cheveldayoff said that Maurice is the right fit for the Jets.

"When I sit down with Paul and we talk about the team and the direction, he's a good coach whether he's going to coach here or whether he's going to coach some other place," he said. "I don't think that ever was going to be a question. Paul Maurice will coach for quite a lot longer in this League whether it's here through the rest of his career or whether he decides to move on. You want someone that does believe in what you have here, too."

In 22 seasons as an NHL coach with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Jets, Maurice is 724-643-121 with 99 ties in the regular season and 36-44 in 80 playoff games.

He said he's had to adapt his coaching style since entering the NHL with the Whalers in 1996-97, with communication now a key.

"In the time of the NHL, aside from the style of hockey change, the biggest change is what the players need when they come in," Maurice said. "That individual communication and group messaging has to be very clear. They want it, they want that kind of direction. We work hard at it."

The Jets play the San Jose Sharks at Bell MTS Place on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TSN3, NBCSCA, NHL.TV) and Maurice is excited about Winnipeg's Stanley Cup chances this season and beyond.

"But the biggest reason for all of this, I truly believe in this team's ability to win," he said. "If you're on the outside looking in and you're trying to pick a job opening out there, you want to coach the Winnipeg Jets.

"There are things we are going through this year, and some of it is the changeover for having young players coming and put up the points that they did, is you have two change your lineup around but that core is still there. What we're going through this year is going to be a big driver for us getting to that next level with the team that won't be young in a couple of years. This is still a very young group when you think about the difference between a 23-year-old and a 25-year-old, the most exciting thing is that I think this team can win." 

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