NEW YORK — The sun came up on the Winnipeg Jets today, literally shining on them for an hour in Central Park.
About 24 hours after sleep-walking through the early part of their morning start against the Philadelphia Flyers, and losing 2-1, the NHL team went outdoors for a skate today.
The 60-minute session on the Lasker Ice Rink in the far north of Central Park was more about fun and less about work after the team fell to 12-12-4 in the Central Division standings.
The Jets are 2-1 so far on their six-game road trip that continues Monday night at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.
"Why would I not like it?" Jets centre Bryan Little said. "It was pretty cool, a different experience. I can’t remember the last time I skated outdoors. It was pretty fun.
"I had three or four ponds really close to me I used to play on. Like I said, can’t remember the last time I was outside so this was pretty cool."
With a two-day break between games, it afforded the Jets a chance to go off routine for some team-building.
"I think it was nice to get our minds off that last game, hopefully kind of refresh us for the next one," Little said. "Everyone was pretty upset yesterday but guys had fun today and we’re moving on."
Fun and moving on were exactly the things Jets coach Claude Noel had in mind today.
"I think it was good, good for the players today to remind you of growing up a little bit, especially most Canadian kids anyway," Noel said. "Just a fun day. For us, it just kind of loosens up and gets a little bit of team-building for the players, making it fun."
The inevitable question from reporters about how the loss to the Flyers was sitting clearly hadn’t vanished from the coach’s view.
"I’ve moved on," he said. "So I’m not going to go down that road again. It’s a game we could have won and we would have had to have played better.
"We gave them three power plays in the first and gave them a fourth, actually, a five-one-three (to start the second). We didn’t manage it very well. It was a game we could have won.
"But we’ve moved on."
Evander Kane, who left Friday’s game with a lower-body injury, and defenceman Toby Enstrom watched today from the sidelines, given "maintenance" days.
The coach indicated that both players could play Monday.