OTTAWA – Already short-staffed in their defensive corps, the Winnipeg Jets may be without leading scorer Blake Wheeler when they meet the Ottawa Senators Monday in the nation’s capital.
Wheeler was hit in the throat on a shot by Petr Sykora in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils and left the game immediately. He was taken to Health Sciences Centre for tests and while they all came back indicating there was no significant damage to his throat or neck, the Jets announced Sunday he will be held for 24 hours for further observation.
Wheeler did not accompany the team to Ottawa Sunday afternoon and no decision had been made as to whether he would join the team Monday.
The Jets play the Senators Monday night then immediately fly to Newark for a game against the New Jersey Devils the next night.
The Jets, who have lost five of their last six, are already without two of their top defenceman in Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian and Wheeler’s potential absence would leave a gaping hole in the offensive attack.
Wheeler leads the Jets with 32 points on nine goals and 23 assists.