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Clever captain foils assailants

IT hasn't taken Winnipeg Jets' captain Andrew Ladd long to immerse himself into the Manitoba culture.

And so what does a guy do on a day off -- his birthday, no less -- for kicks in Winnipeg?

He hits the pebbled ice at the Granite Curling Club, of course.

"It was my wife's idea, we were looking for something different," said Ladd, who was joined by about 10-11 people, including some teammates. "It was fun. It was tough. It was a lot harder than most guys thought, but it was fun to get out on the ice sheet in a little bit different format.

"We all came out of it unscathed, so that's the important thing I guess.

"Mase (goaltender Chris Mason) was actually really good. I'll give him some credit. But I think he's done it a few times. He was getting into it pretty good."

Ladd turned 26 on Monday and his teammates did attempt -- attempt being the key word here -- to play a trick on their captain. Dustin Byfuglien interrupted a media scrum with Ladd with a small cake and candle while Nik Antropov sneaked up behind him and tried to jam a plate of shaving cream into his mug. Ladd deftly ducked out of the way, yelling "Way too smart for you guys! Almost got me there."

Asked how he knew something was up, Ladd said:

"I've never seen Buff bring me a cake, so I knew there was something more to it than that."

 

SICK BAY UPDATE: Jets' head coach Claude Noel began his daily media session with a statement, knowing full well the daily questions about the team's injured players would be asked again.

"It's day to day on all the guys," said Noel. "I'm waiting on for tomorrow. I'm not sure who's in, who's going to be out or what."

Defenceman Tobias Enstrom took part in his first full practice with full contact on Monday, but likely still won't see action until later in the month.

"It feels good so I'm going to talk to the trainers and see what the plan is," Enstrom said. "I'd like to get back as soon as possible. I've been out for awhile and I really miss the game. I've been practicing for awhile and my shoulder feels good and everything feels great and I'm really looking forward to getting back out there."

Both Ron Hainsey and Eric Fehr were on the ice but Nik Antropov and Dustin Byfuglien, who played Saturday in Detroit, were not.

"Time will tell, we'll see how I feel (Tuesday)," said Fehr. "I was just taking a couple maintenance days because I was feeling a little sore. I felt pretty good today and hopefully can get back at it again soon. It's my second shoulder surgery in three years. It feels pretty tight some days so I don't want to aggravate it or push it over the edge. I want to make sure I'm ready to go for the second half of the season."

 

WILD NEWS: Minnesota is expected to make one lineup change for tonight, adding winger Cal Clutterbuck, who was skating on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley before suffering a charley horse.

The Wild and Jets will be in the same division next season and with Manitoba and Minnesota neighbours, many fans are hoping it develops into a dandy rivalry between two hockey-mad locales.

"People are just real excited to have their team back," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said of Winnipeg in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer-Press on Monday. "It's not one of the biggest rinks, but it's a loud building... It's going to be a great challenge going up there.

"Whenever you go up to a Canadian city, much like playing in Minnesota, the game is so important up there. They have an awful lot of pride in their team, having their team back, and every game they've had, there's been excitement right from the drop of the puck."

Yeo and Jets' boss Claude Noel are quite familiar with each other, the two having worked in the AHL last year -- Noel with the Manitoba Moose; Yeo with the Houston Aeros.

"You have to be impressed with the job Mike Yeo and the coaching staff have done there," said Noel. "You've got to like what you see with their team and what they've done there. Best team in the league. You look at their goals against, they're well-balanced, they're getting good goaltending and it looks like there's a lot of joy there, which you always (have) when you're first in the league."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 13, 2011 0

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