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Some Coaches Know When It’s Time To Go

SUNRISE, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets looks on against the Florida Panthers during the third period at BB&T Center on November 14, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

We know you want more Urban Meyer but Christ in heaven, we can only provide so much before our eyes melt Indiana Jones–style and we end up shrieking at our captors before expiring noisily in a puddle of viscous innards … oh, and while we’re at it, happy holidays.

But maybe Paul Maurice can help. He announced today that he is quitting as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, because he thought it was a good idea for everyone involved. He said he’s lost some of his passion for the game over the course of the pandemic, which is surely more widespread than we realize or that most coaches would admit even to themselves. But Maurice was straightforward about it. No groping, no kicking, no bullying, no posturing, no arrogant ranting, no arguing about money still owed … just a jaunty, So long, kids. Treat my lunchpail with kindness.

More to the point, he said these things:

“This is a good team, I’m a good coach … but sometimes you can only push so far. They haven’t quit on me, but need a different voice. It’s the right time for it, and I know that.”

And:

“You need to fix something here and it’s me. I didn’t want to watch those guys fight for the rest of the year when I think they could be better with someone else.”

Now there could be below-the-surface issues in Winnipeg that we don’t know about because we’re too fixated on the Ottawa Senators to give much of a toss about Manitoba’s problems. But a guy who says, “You need to fix something here and it’s me” seems like the sort to walk on his own terms, and after Urbapalooza we haven’t the endurance to dig into the chilled underbelly of the Winnipeg Jets for additional mirth. When you have one borderline sociopath to back over with your F-150, you need the balance that comes from a guy who just says, Screw it. I’m going home, putting my feet up, having a G&T with breakfast and never showering in a giant arena ever again. Even if it’s a lie, and even if that lie or lies are revealed after the holidays, we need it not to be this week. We’re not naive about this, but Urban’s kind of changed the coach-hits-the-bricks vibe we’ve grown accustomed to mocking.

So see you later, Paul Maurice. Be genuine about this just until Christmas. After that, if you need to explain how those bodies in the wall of the coach’s office got there, we’ll be all ears, eyes, and snark. Just not today.