Hextall on Hockey: Being aggressive in OT working for Jets

Be aggressive! I’m no cheerleader, but that chant appears to be the Winnipeg Jets‘ new war cry.

The Jets’ decision to use a trio of forwards in 3-on-3 overtime not once but twice, with a winning result in both games, has caught the attention of many.

It signifies that Winnipeg is trying new things. Trying to play forward — an attack mindset.

The key to finding success with a forward-thinking approach is that the entire team must be on the same page, which means to understand or agree with what is being done or suggested.

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It’s a point Connor Hellebuyck referenced after Winnipeg’s OT win against Montreal Saturday.

The Jets netminder credited the team’s ability to execute the “new look” OT because the entire team is on the same page. No one is going rogue or doing their own thing, trying to score by themselves.

Instead, each player on the ice — whether 5-on-5 or 3-on-3 — is working together into the offensive zone and then tracking back defensively – together.

Sounds simple, but is no easy task to execute if the team isn’t on the same page. The prerequisite to accomplishing this is communication between team members — including coaches — about game plans and the roles and responsibilities of team members.

Head coach Paul Maurice wouldn’t have the option to play three forwards in overtime if his team wasn’t on the same page – too much risk for a rogue mistake.

But Maurice has trust that his team is on the same page, which presents new opportunities for how the Jets can play.

The ability to “go for it” with a plan of attack can add new pages to the Jets’ playbook.

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