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Jets wait to see if Byfuglien joins team in Florida tomorrow

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FORT LAUDERDALE - Jets all-star defenceman Dustin Byfuglien was not on the ice with his teammates this morning as they practised in preparation for Tuesday's game against the Florida Panthers.

"Buff is taking care of a family matter," said head coach Claude Noel, after putting his club through a 60-minute skate at BB&T Center. "He should join us tomorrow."

Noel admitted weather could prove problematic in getting Byfuglien to Florida in time for tomorrow's game (6:30 p.m., TSNJets, TSN 1290).

"We'll see what happens," said Noel. "If he can't make it, (Derek) Meech will go in."

Jets winger Blake Wheeler took part in practice and said he was feeling fine.

"I'm good. It turned out to be not as bad as I originally expected. I drank a lot of milk as a kid and I guess that helped," said Wheeler.

Wheeler blocked a shot in Saturday's loss to the Washington Capitals and left the game for a time. Following the game, Noel called his injury day-to-day and termed it a "deep bone contusion."

Jets winger Anthony Peluso has been lost to the team with an injured hand for a few weeks at least and it looks like Antti Miettinen will draw in on a line with Olli Jokinen and James Wright.

"Antti's a smart player. We played together a little bit at the Olympics," said Jokinen.

Noel was also tinkering with Kyle Wellwood on a line with Jim Slater and Eric Tangradi. Winger Chris Thorburn appeared to be the odd man out but that could change by game time.

The Jets are on a four-game road trip with a pair against Florida and singles at Tampa Bay and New Jersey.

 

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

@gary.lawless

 

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