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Pavelec Czeching out, ready to return to Canada

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WINNIPEG — Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec won’t be returning to the Czech League when play resumes this week.

The website iSport.cz has reported that Pavelec’s contract with the Liberec Tigers has expired and wasn’t going to be renewed after the current international hockey break in Europe.

The goalie was quoted as saying, "I had a contract to Nov. 4, and now that I saw that the NHL season could be saved, I think I’ll probably go back to Canada," in a translation.

But if the NHL season turns out to be toast, he wasn’t ruling out a return to Europe, making it sound like there are irons in the fire with Spartak.

In Liberec, Pavelec was not much better than terrible, with a 4-10 record, an .896 save percentage and a 3.50 goals against average.

He played much better in the Karjala Cup in Finland last week, with a GAA of 0.50 as Czech Republic won all three of its games.

If Pavelec is headed to Canada, it may afford him the opportunity for the face-to-face meeting he promised to have with Jets GM Kevein Cheveldayoff.

The Jets, you’ll recall, signed Pavelec to a new five-year contract in late June, before it was revealed that he had been convicted in his home country of drinking and driving in May.

When those details became public, he apologized to fans in a statement and said he would clear the air with team management "soon."

Jets captain Andrew Ladd said this morning he had not yet heard if Pavelec was returning to Winnipeg.

While unsure about the Jets goalie, Ladd was a little more hopeful he’d be seeing Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom by week’s end. Enstrom is believed to have left his Austrian team in Salzberg.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Monday, November 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM CST: Add email address.

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