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Ralph: Changing Jets' culture won't happen overnight

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Rick Ralph
11/12/2011 1:01:50 PM
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Changing a culture does not happen overnight.

Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel is part of a group trying to change the culture of his hockey team. "We have to build a foundation. That's what we have to do here in Winnipeg. It starts with a standard and then we go from there. There's fightback. It's not because they're bad. My job is to build a foundation and get them to produce."

The Jets are coming off a 5 - 2 loss to the Florida Panthers at MTS Center Thursday night. Coach Noel said after the game he liked about 25 minutes of the 60 his team played. The club finds itself in last place in the Southeast Division with a 5 - 8 and 3 record.

The Jets skated for 50 minutes on Friday morning before departing for Columbus where they will face the struggling Blue Jackets Saturday night. (TSN1290)  The team announced goaltender Chris Mason has been activated off of the injured reserved list and goaltender Peter Mannino has been returned to St. John's.  There is speculation that Mason could see action Saturday night and is ready to go if asked.  "Absolutely, 100%", said Mason after Friday's practice.  "I went full here the last three days so I could have no problem playing".

"We are what we are. We're a team that has not had a lot of success in its foundation of work over the course of twelve years and we have to change. We have to raise our standard. We have a low standard of ourselves"....."it's gong to go forward," Noel said after Friday's practice.

Change is not expected to come quick as the Jets management and staff continue to evaluate players. Drastic moves such as blowing up the team is not an option. "I don't think we need to come in and blow everything up. We have enough to make the parts go. We're all trying to figure out what we have here and that take's time. Right now we need to raise some things and that's taking place now", said Noel.

The team met in the dressing room with the coaching staff before Friday's practice. The ill effects of Thursday's loss still on their minds. The Jets know they have to change. "It has to come from within here. We addressed it a bit last night (Thurs.) and today (Fri.). Things have to change culture wise, habits", said winger Tanner Glass.

Noel called Thursday's loss to Florida a defining moment for his hockey club. "It was an identifying moment for our team I think. I think the comfort level has set in and we have what we have. We're going to move forward from this. Today. My message today to them was lets just deal with reality here. This is what we are", said Noel Friday morning.

The Jets will return home after Saturday night's game at Columbus to play three straight at MTS Center against Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia.

Claude Noel (Photo: Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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