Paul Postma is back in the bigs with the Winnipeg Jets.
Just as important, his love for the game has been rekindled after a blood clot in his leg back in October temporarily derailed his career.
The Jets officially recalled the 24-year-old defenceman from the St. John's IceCaps on Friday after a conditioning assignment and activated him off of the injured-reserve list. He was on the ice with his teammates at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, although likely won’t be in the lineup for Saturday’s matinee against the Blues (1 p.m.; TSN-Jets/TSN 1290).
Ironically, it was while on a road trip back in October that included stops in Denver and then St. Louis when Postma’s ailment was first diagnosed.
"This kind of brings back memories," he said Friday after practice. "When you’re not able to do what you’re normally capable of, you realize how much you miss it. I really missed the game and I also missed being around the guys and the team atmosphere. You don’t really feel like you’re part of the team when you’re on (injured reserve) for such a long time. It’s just really nice to be back."
Postma began the season with the Jets and played in eight games, but was shelved until he rejoined the IceCaps. He played four games with St. John’s and recorded six points (1G, 5A).
"It was good. The first couple of games were a little rusty," said Postma. "I felt good in terms of skills and speed but my endurance wasn’t quite there. It’s something that came to me over time and I feel pretty good right now."
The Jets practised Friday without Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien, both of whom will be in the lineup against the Blues. Al Montoya is expected to start in goal.
"We knew he was going to get at least one of the last two games and based on Pav’s (Ondrej Pavelec) first-star selection in his game (in Carolina), he got the next start," said coach Paul Maurice. "It’s all about frequency for Al now. Every time he goes out and plays as well as he plays then the frequency of his next start increases."
The Jets are 9-3 under Maurice, but coming off a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday. The new boss is hoping the squad can find one more gear against the Blues and not be distracted by the Oly break.
"You’d like to think it’s the one good time you have fewer Olympians than the other," he said. "You got lots of Olympians, you’ve got a good hockey team. But that’s the challenge. So you just talk about it and address it as best you possibly can. It’s such an unusual thing, it’s not something you deal with every year.
"It’s kinda like that Christmas break in junior hockey where you get seven days off. But both teams are dealing with the same thing, right? It’s not a surprise, we knew this one was on the calendar so you want to go into it feeling good. Regardless, after that whistle blows everybody’s leaving."