For most of the Winnipeg Jets today, it was the team picture and then rest as they begin a rare four-day break in the 2013 condensed schedule.
The Jets demolished the Florida Panthers to the tune of 7-2 on Thursday night at the MTS Centre, moving their record to 3-0 halfway through this six-game homestand that doesn’t resume until Tuesday against Tampa Bay.
Saturday’s going to be a complete day of rest for the team before it returns to practice on Sunday.
"I’m going to let my mind go free; I’m going to be a regular Winnipegger and just do something else," Jets coach Claude Noel said today after his team had an optional skate that saw very few regulars participate. "When I leave the rink today I’m not coming back until Sunday morning.
"It’s just to recharge. I need it and so do the players."
The Jets have played 42 games, most in the NHL as of today, in just 83 days.
They’re tied with the eighth-seeded New York Rangers at 44 points, though the Rangers have two games in hand. Winnipeg is two points back of the Washington Capitals, who lead the Southeast Division with 46 points.
The Jets have six games to play and likely need 52 or more points to have a shot at gaining an Eastern Conference playoff berth of some kind.
On the update side today, centre Bryan Little, who had two key assists on Thursday and was whacked in the head by Florida defenceman Erik Gudbrandson late in the second period, says he’s fine.
Little did finish the game after the team’s medical staff was able to stop the flow of blood from his nose. Little said today he didn’t think the nose was broken.
Gudbrandson was tossed from Thursday's game with a match penalty for a head check but it's looking like there will be no more action on the matter by the NHL.
For today’s optional practice, defenceman Zach Redmond was involved for the first time since his horrific accident Feb. 21. That’s when his right leg was sliced open by teammate Antti Miettinen’s skate.
Redmond is fully cleared to practice now with the team.