Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bellicose Bogo won't take guff

No way Perreault was going to get away with slash

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The results are still mixed -- the Winnipeg Jets are a .500 team at 10-10-1 -- but there is an increasing stability in their game as the season progresses near the halfway point.

If you're looking for reasons, among the important ones is a healthy, aggressive Zach Bogosian.

The 22-year-old blue-liner is now nine games into his comeback from off-season wrist surgery, a rehabilitation that dragged into mid-February.

He's averaged more than 24 minutes per game of ice, which tells you plenty about his value to the Jets.

Of late, Bogosian has been a lot more pushy, snarly and quick on his feet.

"I think anytime you're on your skates more and more, you get a little more balance," he said after Saturday's 3-0 setback against the Washington Capitals. "I feel pretty strong out there and it's what I use to my advantage, I guess, in the corners and stuff.

"Any time you can be physical, obviously it's a plus."

The past three or four games, Bogosian has been literally pushing people around, an element that's not going to hurt the Jets.

And Saturday Bogosian decided he was going to dole out a dose of in-the-trenches justice.

He had banged Washington forward Mathieu Perreault hard and onto his backside against the boards in the Winnipeg zone 12:15 into the third period.

Perreault got up, skated about 60 feet and bravely slashed Bogosian on the back of the legs when both players were headed for a change.

The referee behind the play saw and called the infraction but the big Jets defenceman felt it wouldn't be enough, so he grabbed Perreault to start a serious line scrum.

Bogosian said simply he wasn't going to let the slash go.

"No, I mean I hit him in the corner," he said. "I thought it was clean. He decided to slash me in the back of the leg so I don't want to get pushed around out there and it was 3-0 so, I mean, why not?

"I definitely felt it. Ah, it's part of the game."

Ahead for the Jets, an increasing grit will be required with four road games straight in front of them and a furious scramble for position in the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference.

"Every game's huge with this shortened season," Bogosian said. "Any time you're playing down south, it's obviously bigger games for us. We just have to take it a game at a time and just collect those points."

In terms of his own overall play, it's also worth noting that Bogosian has a short window this season to display his worth for a new contract from the Jets.

His two-year deal, which pays him $3 million this season, will expire at the end of June.

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 3, 2013 B2

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