December 10, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
It’s been nearly two years since a reigning Stanley Cup championship team made its way to the MTS Centre.
It’s happening Saturday afternoon and has the added flare of the first-ever regular-season visit by the Chicago Blackhawks.
At 8-2-3, the Hawks are off to a fine start.
The 5-7-2 Jets will no doubt have their hands full.
"They’re going to be a good team," said Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, a former member of the Hawks and a Cup-winner himself in 2010. "It’s going to be a hard battle and we’ll wade through (it)."
Byfuglien was asked after this morning’s practice downtown if it is any more fun to hit guys he knows.
"Yeah, I think so," he smiled. "It’s fine to hit ‘em and joke around but we’ve all got a job to do."
The Jets are coming off a road trip, having acquired just three points in four games. Their disappointment and frustration has been a topic for conversation this week and as usual, practice has put the focus back on what’s ahead.
"It was just a couple of days of working on things, getting things done and we should be ready to go and we’ll be thinking about two points," Byfuglien said.
Jets coach Claude Noel said today that defenceman Mark Stuart will not be a player on Saturday, battling a hip injury.
That likely means the NHL debut for defenceman Ben Chiarot, who was called up this week from the St. John’s IceCaps.
The last reigning Cup winner to debut in the MTS Centre was the Boston Bruins on Dec. 6, 2011. The Jets won that game, 2-1.
Injury issues have prompted the Winnipeg Jets to recall another defenceman from the AHL affiliate in St. John's.
The team this afternoon said it was bringing in 2010 third-round draft pick Julian Melchiori, the 21-year-old from the Toronto area.
Melchiori has played 10 AHL games so far this season, and 63 so far in his career.
Veteran Jets defenceman Mark Stuart, out with hip issues, has been placed on the injured reserve list retroactive to Tuesday. Also out are blueliners Paul Postma and Jacob Trouba.
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Updated on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 4:35 PM CDT: