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Jets winger Miettinen headed home to play in Finland

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WINNIPEG -- Not gone but going -- Winnipeg Jets left-winger Antti Miettinen was on the ice with friends and teammates this morning at MTS Iceplex.

The 32-year-old is returning Tuesday to his hometown, Hameenlina, Finland, to join HPK Hameenlina in the Finnish top league.

"It's nice, at least to go play at home," Miettinen said this morning. "It's familiar surroundings and our families are there so it's good for the kids to go see their grandparents, all that stuff.

"If you have to go somewhere, that's probably the best place to go."

Miettinen is aware that the trip could be on the short side if any traction is gained in this week's negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA.

Miettinen and his PA compatriots have been locked out since Sept. 15 and he has been skating and working out with some of them three times at week at the Iceplex.

"I wouldn't say I'm worried about it," he said this morning. "Hopefully things get sorted out quick and that'll be just like a short training camp, but we'll see."

Miettinen skated with the Finnish team -- he played three seasons for HPK before beginning his NHL career -- during the summer.

"I trained with them already, before I came over here, for a month and a half on the ice," he said. "They asked about the situation back then and we talked about it and said we'll see how it plays out over here. We've got settled in here with the family, so I didn't want to go right back.

"I think it's a good time to go now, with a break, and there will be some practice before the first game."

In parting, did Miettinen have any parting advice for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or NHLPA boss Don Fehr?

"I think they're up to date with what the thing is, so I don't think I have to give any advice there," he said.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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