IT'S only a few short weeks from the doghouse to being near the front of the line for praise for Jets forward Alexander Burmistrov.
The 21-year-old third-year NHLer sat four games in March, having displeased coach Claude Noel.
But Noel was singing the youngster's praises after Tuesday's 4-3 shootout win over Tampa Bay, having put him in a checking role with Mike Santorelli and Eric Tangradi.
"That's one of the better games I've seen Burmi play," Noel said. "He was really good. I thought that line had good chemistry. They were excellent, really played well, at both ends of the ice."
Burmistrov said Wednesday, as the team prepared for tonight's home game against Carolina, that his coach's trust goes a long way.
Noel certainly showed some of that Tuesday, playing Burmistrov nearly 21 minutes.
"Like I said before to you, the first thing when you go on the ice is that you work as a team," Burmistrov said. "You put yourself in behind and play for the team.
"I don't know if that was one of the best of my games but I felt I did the right things and it looks like we've got some chemistry as a line. We play hard and we play smart and we got some chances.
"We just couldn't bury them. But we worked on it and I hope the next game, we'll help the team again as a line."
Burmistrov said the ice time, and the trust, means a lot to him.
"When the coach gave me (that kind) of ice time last year he did at the start of the season... it does give you confidence in yourself," he said. "I feel like I can do better but this helps me play better."
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Jets defenceman Zach Redmond, severely injured by a skate cut Feb. 21 in Carolina, could be in game action this week. He's been sent to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps for a conditioning stint which will be for the IceCaps' final three regular-season games in Hamilton and Toronto this weekend.
Redmond underwent three hours of surgery to repair damage to his femoral artery and nerves and tendons in his right leg. At the time, his season was declared a writeoff but he was back in Winnipeg skating two weeks ago, having proved a quick healer.
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With 23 minor penalties, second-most in the NHL, Jets left-winger Evander Kane said Wednesday that nobody's picking on him, nor is he jeopardizing himself by his frequent interaction with on-ice officials.
"It's part of the game," Kane said. "A couple of referees, they reffed in the WHL when I was playing. I know them. So somebody thinks I'm yelling at them but we're just talking. It's pretty friendly most of the time but I'm an emotional guy. I've been yelling at the referees since I was five years old playing hockey. It's probably not going to stop. They know that. It's nothing personal."
"I think they know the type of player I am. And sometimes they yell back at you."
Recent debatable calls have brought the matter more front and centre.
"Look at Claude (Noel, Jets coach) last night," Kane said, referring to his coach's Tuesday outburst after a disallowed goal. "I think he was on Sports Centre. He's taking a page out of my book."