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Fixing the Winnipeg Jets penalty issues

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Can the Jets get out from under the referees’ thumb?

Winnipeg Jets v St Louis Blues - Game Six Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets have a penalty issue. They are very good at taking penalties and this is something that has to change. Some of it might have to do with reputation, but some of it also has to do with style of play. When you rely on physicality, you put yourself in a position to get called for excessive penalties. That said the Winnipeg Jets, especially Dustin Byfuglien, do get called for hitting a guy too hard.

How can they fix their penalty issues? The coaches can go over game tape and see if there is a pattern in what penalties they take. Are they taking a lot of stick penalties? Are they taking ones from hitting players? If there is a pattern, then the coaches can work with the team to minimize those decisions. The coaches can create a system that downplays these weaknesses.

One problem with the penalties might be coming from the Jets defence not being terribly mobile. They are more old school defenders who can hit guys can clear the puck off the glass. They do have three defencemen who are mobile and good at moving the pucks, but Byfuglien does get dinged for being a big guy at times. Oddly enough, he has learned to pull back sometimes to avoid taking a penalty.

Two seasons ago, the Jets worked with the head of officiating to learn what was and wasn’t a penalty. It helped them cut down on the amount of penalties they took that season. They could do a repeat of that experience if it truly helped them. It is clear that the Jets need to cut down on penalties, which sounds like a broken record by now. There are plenty of things they can try to change, but they have to put in the work.