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Paul Maurice: the Jets made him lose his love of field hockey

The Panthers are surprising everyone in the playoffs. After eliminating the Bruins, they’re now making the Maple Leafs look bad. A number of players are helping: Matthew Tkachuck, Sergei Brobrovsky and even Paul Maurice.

Signed in June 2022, Maurice needed a breath of fresh air in his life, and that’s exactly what the Panthers gave him. He had just left Winnipeg, where he had spent the last seven years of his life.

His time with the Jets did not end well. He recently told reporter Mike Zeisberger how difficult the end of that journey was.

“I had lost my love of field hockey.” – Paul Maurice

Those are heavy words coming from the youngest coach in history to reach 1,000 career games. But it’s understandable. When he resigned, the Jets were fifth in the Central Division with just 31 points. More was expected of Winnipeg, which had a line-up built to qualify for the playoffs.

Fortunately for Maurice, the love of field hockey returned. He explains that in June, while leaving his cottage outside Winnipeg, he received a call from Panthers general manager Bill Zito and agreed to sign a contract.

The head coach doesn’t describe the season as “wonderful”. There were some bumps in the road, but that’s obviously part of field hockey. There were certainly bumps in the road (and a bit of luck) because the team qualified for the playoffs from 17th place in the NHL standings at the end of the season.

But who cares, because the Panthers eliminated the Boston Bruins. Which goes to show that the season doesn’t mean much in the playoffs.

The Panthers will have the chance to push the Maple Leafs to the brink next Monday, at home. I imagine that Panthers fans will give their favorites a warm welcome after such a feat. Enough to keep Paul Maurice’s love of field hockey alive.

In gusto

– A likely consolation prize for Jim Montgomery.

– A Hurricanes veteran makes an appearance.

– He was part of the Oilers organization from 2013 to 2018.

– He’s got a good car, he’s got to make an impression.

– A big challenge awaits Nadal at Roland Garros (if he takes part)

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