Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel is either a coaching genius or easily pleased. But after the Jets had a full-game scrimmage Friday morning, Noel said he was content with what he saw. Any lingering worries heading into the club’s first game against Montreal on Sunday?
“What am I still worried about? Nothing,” Noel said after the game. No worries at all? “No.”
The team also practiced shootouts, with mixed success, and penalty killing.
The first game will have some special meaning for Noel, who grew up in Kirkland Lake, Ont., loving the Habs. “I was a big fan,” he said. “I used to sit in front of the TV with a bobble head of the Montreal Canadiens and I remember listening to the French announcer...It was great. Bobby Rousseau, Jacques Laperrière and Jacques Lemaire.”
Coaching against the team he idolized as a child “will be fun,” he added. “I’ll be anxious like I would be when I played my first game when I was 5-years-old. I’ll be excited.”
Noel said his mother and two sisters have come to Winnipeg for the first game. Beyond that he is trying to treat like just another game.