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New nickname needed? Fehr replaces Thorburn on Jets' GST checking line

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Eric Fehr will slide into Chris Thorburn’s spot on the Winnipeg Jets’ popular ‘GST’ checking line along with Tanner Glass and Jim Slater.

The nickname – built from the first initial of the last name of Glass, Slater and Thorburn and fitting because they like to ‘tax the opposition’ – will have to be temporarily shelved as Thorburn recovers from a lower-body injury that will likely keep him out for three weeks.

"It’s not all about nicknames now," said Slater with a grin after practice on Monday. "It’s fun and for sure we love the GST line and everything, but we’re not worried about that. That’s not our first priority right now."

That’s a given following the events of the last four days that included Jet losses in Vancouver and Calgary and then saw the teams the Jets are chasing in the standings -- specifically the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals – pick up points over the weekend. Winnipeg is ninth in the Eastern Conference at 32-29-4, four points back of the Caps and five behind the Panthers.

"I did watch some games and saw the scores, but I wasn’t living or dying and biting my nails every time there was a shift," said Jet coach Claude Noel. "We’ve got 13 games. We know what we’re doing, we know where we’re going. We’ll control what we can control and we’ll go from there. We’ve got to win Wednesday and that’s what we’ll focus on."

Noel did confirm that Fehr will replace Thorburn on the Jet third line.

"We had a pretty good skate today and obviously they are two hard-working guys," said Fehr of working with Glass and Slater.

"It was a good practice. I’m not exactly sure what we’re doing come game time, but right now I’m practicing with them and it’s great. They work hard and battle hard and that’s what I want to do as well. I’ve been working hard while I’ve been out, just trying to stay in shape and be ready to play whenever they call upon me."

Zach Bogosian practised with the team for awhile Monday morning and then was pulled, as planned, after about 30 minutes. His availability for Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Stars will be a game-time decision.

Dustin Byfuglien, meanwhile, did not practice on Monday but should be good to go against the Stars.

"We’ve just got to rest him," said Noel. "He’s got a lower, below-the-knee function that needs to stay off the ice a little bit. He’ll be fine."

When asked to expand on the ‘lower, below-the-knee function’ and if Byfuglien had aggravated the knee he had previously injured, Noel added: "No. So, eliminate the parts, guys. I’ll leave it up to you rocket scientists to do all the work."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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