WINNIPEG — The proof was in the regulars not in the lineup down the stretch of the shortened NHL season.
Injuries took a late toll on the Winnipeg Jets.
Revealed today as many team members held meetings with the coaching and management staff were some of the issues:
- Centre Nik Antropov missed serious time with a groin pull;
- Defenceman Toby Enstrom’s back just wouldn’t allow him to play when he came back from his shoulder injury.
- Veteran centre Jim Slater had a broken finger and never did get back into action;
- Left-winger Evander Kane was battling wrist and leg issues while he continued to play late in the season.
Other health issues included missing defenceman Zach Bogosian for the final three games of the season after taking a blow to the head. Bogosian wouldn’t talk about it Friday. Also missing at the end of the season were centre Olli Jokinen with a high-ankle sprain in the same game in which Bogosian went down; Kyle Wellwood with a broken hand and Anthony Peluso with a similar hand problem that hand improved, though he didn’t play in the late going.
Kane said after Thursday’s season-closing 4-2 loss to Montreal that he didn’t want to get into the injury issues that caused him to miss some morning skates, even one pre-game warmup.
But he was more forthcoming today.
"I’m banged up right now so I’m going to have to take care of some medical things first, unfortunately," Kane said. "I got a wrist that might need some work done on it and I’ve got some nerve damage in my lower leg and foot. I had to get that taken care of before every game in order to play.
"Those were the two major things that we bugging me."
Kane, who will not be able to play for Team Canada at the upcoming World Championships, said the wrist problem happened early in the season.
"They only get better with some work done or some rest," he said. "So playing every night or every other day doesn’t give it much opportunity to rest it."
And like his teammates, the 21-year-old sniper who had 17 goals this season, was downcast about the outcome, finishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"It’s disappointing," he said. "We didn’t accomplish the goal we set out to accomplish. It’s disappointing to be doing this same dance at this time of year again."