All that stands between the Jets and the regular season, now, is the final exhibition game tonight in Saskatoon.
If it seems to fans that the 2013-14 training camp has flown by, for some of the Jets players, it hasn’t flown fast enough. For instance, when media asked Zach Bogosian if he was excited to wrap up the training camp, the big blueliner nodded an emphatic yes. "Nobody likes pre-season," Bogosian said. "I don’t care who it is. If they say they do, they’re lying."
Yeah, those are just the words of a guy chomping at the bit to shoot pucks and throw hits that might actually matter, as more than just a moral victory. "You see the way it is," Bogosian said. "It’s sloppy hockey, and everyone wants to get that over with and get to the regular season… the regular season is what counts. We were working out the kinks before, but it’s just pre-season. It sucks. Not going to sugarcoat it."
So one more to go, then. The Jets will hop a plane to Saskatoon this afternoon to prepare for this final exhibition game against the Boston Bruins, but star winger Blake Wheeler won’t be dressing for the game. Though two-thirds of the top line in Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little will take the ice at Credit Union Centre, Wheeler remains out day-to-day with an injury. Upper or lower body? "He has an all-body injury," Jets coach Claude Noel joked after a short practice on Friday morning. "He’s just got some tweaks from training camp that we just want to be smart about."
Noel also described Bogosian as also day-to-day, though the blueliner skated in practice on Friday and chatted with media after the skate. None of the injuries are worrisome, Noel stressed. "I think it’s important right now that when we deal with our players right now, that we’re dealing with them looking at two things. Their health and welfare, but the other thing is, where do they stand between playing and starting the regular season?"
After tonight’s game, the Jets will head to Banff for a couple of days for a little team retreat in the Rockies, before getting set in Edmonton to open the regular season against the Oilers on Tuesday. They open their home schedule next Friday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.