Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bogo looks ready to go-go against Pens tonight

He says it's coach's decision, coach giving positive signals

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NOT even Jets head coach Claude Noel could come up with a reason to keep recovered defenceman Zach Bogosian from his first game of the NHL season tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins (6 p.m., CBC, TSN 1290).

Still, the coach waffled slightly on Thursday, if only for a little gamesmanship with the visiting Penguins.

Bogosian said Thursday he's all the way back from off-season wrist surgery that has kept him out of the Jets' first 12 games.

"A game-time decision but it looks like he's ready to go," Noel said.

"He's ready to go. I'm not sure I would hold him out of there. He has good passion. He probably has over-passion tomorrow. He's that thoroughbred that wants to get going. I'd have to be holding him back a bit if he plays."

His advice to the 22-year-old fifth-year pro was simple: "Don't try to overdo things."

Bogosian pronounced himself ready to go on Thursday.

"Coach's decision," Bogosian said. "I haven't heard anything yet, but I had another good practice today and I'm feeling good."

If it were up to him?

"I feel like I'm ready to play," he said. "Like I said, it's coach's decision. I'm not sure what's in store for tomorrow, but definitely I feel good, I feel ready."

Bogosian said Thursday he knew he was on the fast track to game action a few weeks ago when he was pain-free when taking slapshots.

"The biggest step for me was when I started taking slapshots," he said. "Ever since I've been taking slapshots, it's been feeling pretty good."

-- -- --

Noel was asked Thursday if the questions about racially motivated comments directed toward left-winger Evander Kane were any distraction to the forward or the team.

His answer: "Evander's Evander. I don't have much to comment on those things. I don't even know the Twitter world. I know it for what it brings and shows up, but I'm not in it. I don't read it and I don't even know how it works and I'd rather just keep it that way for myself.

"It's hard for me to comment on that world. All I know is that Evander is a good player for us. He can be a good player. He's very coachable and I like him. He's a good part of our team, and for me, I'm trying to get him to play in the way that he's also trying to get himself to play.

"Those other things are things that have to get managed. Do I view them as a distraction to our team? I think our players handle things as well as they can."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2013 C2

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