Hextall on Hockey: How do Jets get out of their rut?

A habit or pattern of behaviour that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change: that’s the definition of a rut.

The Winnipeg Jets likely feel as if the team is stuck in a rut.

So how do they get out of it?

Accept the situation. Identify the cause. If you’re stuck in a rut, such as a season-high seven-game losing streak, examine why — the issues leading to the rut will appear.

Take a closer look at your goals. The Jets’ ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup, but in this moment the Jets need to shrink the goal to an immediate one: win each shift, win each period, win the game.

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Make small changes. Shaking up the entire lineup isn’t going to solve the issue. But infusing youth and exuberance in a player such as Cole Perfetti — the AHL rookie of the month — couldn’t hurt. Even if it’s for just one game, an NHL debut for a prospect who’s earned it will resonate through the lineup and create a positive vibe that will bring back the love and joy of the game for all involved.

Remember self-care. If I’m the Jets, social media is not part of my daily diet.

Give your brain a break. Get away from hockey when possible. Focus on anything but the game.

Be more impulsive — if you’re a player who passes instead of shoots, this time, shoot. If you’re a defenceman who doesn’t join the rush, if the chance is there, jump on it!

Approach things realistically. The reality is, the Jets look like a team that is tired. Tired of losing. Tired from a condensed schedule. Tired of the pandemic. Tired of having no fans.

But that’s the reality of the rut and only the Jets can will themselves out of it.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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