Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 01/10/2013 4:27 PM | Comments: 0
The gang is almost all back together and the Winnipeg Jets are wasting little time getting ready for the 2013 National Hockey League season.
The Jets took to the freshly-painted MTS Centre for the first time this year Friday afternoon and had almost a full complement of players with just Alex Ponikarovsky and Nik Antropov, both of whom are returning from the KHL, along with Kyle Wellwood and Evander Kane as the only players yet to report.
Jets head coach Claude Noel and his staff cannot be on the ice with the team until the new collective bargaining agreement is in place and so J.P. Vigier -- the former NHLer who has been training the crew at MTS Iceplex during the lockout – continued to run practices. The 19 players in attendance put in a full workout before settling into their old haunt in the Jet dressing room.
That crew of players included defencemen Paul Postma and Zach Redmond and forwards Spencer Machacek and Maxime Macenauer, all of whom have been called-up from the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL. Also among the new arrivals was Blake Wheeler, who led the team in scoring last year.
Asked if he felt that playing in Europe – Wheeler played in 15 games for the Munich Red Bulls of the German league – would give him any advantage, he grinned and said:
"Today it didn’t… the jet lag has kinda got a hold of me right now. But personally speaking I can’t really get into game shape without playing games. That’s speaking only for myself. The older guys might be able to get themselves into the shape they need to get into. But for me I need to be in the game, get everything moving in the right direction and get my timing down."
The Jets will continue to practise at MTS Centre Friday and Saturday in advance of the opening of main camp on Sunday, following the NHL Players’ Association ratification of the new CBA. The Jets will then just have a few days to prepare for their opener, also at MTS Centre, on Saturday, Jan. 19th vs. the Ottawa Senators.
"I can’t wait," Wheeler said. "It was a big load off of all of our shoulders. All of us are just chomping at the bit to get back out here. Everyone felt (the lockout) had gone on too long and it had gotten to be a little bit of a joke, almost. We were just really happy to get back on the ice and do what we love to do."
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Winnipeg man pleads guilty to random robbery killing
Jets stand pat before NHL trade deadline
Froese brothers to be buried Wednesday
Community rallies around couple beaten at convenience store
Supreme Court to rule on conviction of Candace Derksen slaying
U of M architecture dean stepping down at the end of his contract after storm of criticism
'Spocking' Laurier on fiver not illegal: BoC
Canadian Museum for Human Rights bans selfie sticks
Police investigate sexual assault at Polo Park's Bay store
Putin’s enemies end up dead
Waywayseecappo Wolverines forward Robert Briem named MJHL player of the week
Less anxiety and more optimism after this morning's Jets practice
Chris de Burgh to play Winnipeg in October
Tunnel builders wanted 'hang out' space: cops
Few companies offer daycare services for staff, despite benefits
Bell appeals CRTC decision on Super Bowl ads
Driver badly hurt in Elmwood rollover
Los Angeles police kill man in struggle captured on video
Men in Dalhousie Facebook group apologize
Ottawa named host city for 2017 Canadian Curling Trials
What's missing is action
Grand opening cost CMHR nearly $2M
Two U of W Wesmen wrestlers honoured as school's players of the week
Doctor recalls era of measles before vaccine
Odds are, U of T prof knows the answer
Beyond big-box: Transition away from mega-stores bodes well for urban landscape
Brier victory good as gold
Warmer, but windy in the 'Peg today
Just for the record, vinyl's in
Leadership as popularity contest
Costco strikes credit card deal with Citi, Visa
Pollution documentary attracts huge interest in China
Buffett declines to clarify plan to eventually replace him
NASA spacecraft nearing its second stop - dwarf planet Ceres
Next Google Maps adventure: Soaring through Amazon jungle
'Once in a lifetime' Canada Games come to a close
Iraq launches operation to retake Tikrit from Islamic State
The Nasdaq composite index, then and now
Video reports conflict in probe of Putin critic's slaying