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Kane back on ice but not ready to play yet

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TAMPA, Fla. – An encouraging sign for the Winnipeg Jets in the wake of one of their worst performances of the season in Thursday’s loss to the Florida Panthers:

Left winger Evander Kane, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, was back on the ice Friday morning when the Jets practiced at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum just outside Tampa.

Kane did not finish the session and remains doubtful for Saturday’s game against the Lightning (6 p.m., CBC/TSN 1290) but his return, perhaps next week when the club plays three home games, couldn’t come at a better time for a team trying to get back in the Western Conference playoff hunt.

Kane was not available to the media, but Jets’ coach Claude Noel did provide an update.

"He skated today but was just trying to check out where he's at," said Noel. "He's a little ways away by the looks of things. I'm not sure. It will be a game-time decision but I'm not quite sure he's there yet."

The Jets also welcomed back to practice left winger Michael Frolik, who skipped Thursday’s loss to the Panthers with some sort of virus.

"It's much better," said Frolik after the workout Friday. "I still feel weak and the power is kind of not there. But hopefully I can get a little rest and be ready for tomorrow. I think it was a little virus. I had a fever, too. I was just puking all night. It wasn't very good the night after."

Jets players and coaches spent much of the on-ice session, and time before that, going over Thursday’s defeat. And then the message was to flush that performance and try to salvage their road trip with a win over the Lightning. The Jets are 3-2 on the current swing through the Eastern Conference, their longest road trip of the season.

"We want to get our focus geared toward this Tampa game," said Noel. "We’re not looking at how many days we’ve been on the road; we know what we can come out of this with if we have a win. For us, it’s about feeling better about yourself and if you end up having a good performance and you work hard... you’re not guaranteed results, but if you play the right way and if you play for 60 minutes and we’re going to need everybody, that’s how we success on our team.

"At the end of the day you want to be able to look in the mirror and say, ‘We gave it our all" and hopefully that equates to a win. That way we’re 4-2 going home and we can live with that."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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