WASHINGTON -- Jets coach Claude Noel continues to stick to his plan to dole out ice time on merit.
Wednesday, it was clear he didn't see much from second-year forward Alexander Burmistrov and Burmistrov's ice time suffered, even though the 20-year-old has been forceful player for the team on more than a few occasions.
Burmistrov had six, two and four shifts by periods and wound up with just seven minutes and 56 seconds of icetime in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals.
Asked after the game if this was some kind of commentary on the young Russian's play, Noel batted the question away.
"Not really," the coach said. "It's just a coaching decision that we'll leave in the locker-room."
Hainsey happy to play
HE'S not used to missing games but Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey had to learn how again this fall.
Hainsey, after being knocked in the head Oct. 17 versus Pittsburgh, was sidelined for 16 games, almost twice as many as he missed over the previous five seasons.
Since 2006-07, Hainsey missed only nine regular-season games.
"You forget how frustrating it is not being able to do the day-to-day things," the 30-year-old blueliner said Wednesday. "It sucks for loss of a better term.
"I'm very, very excited to be able to get back now."
While his head was clearing after the Oct. 17 hit, Hainsey encountered a secondary lower-body issue or injury that slowed his return.
"We ran into another issue when I was coming back and it slowed things down but the good news was that it gave the upper-body a bit more time to recuperate," he said.
Hainsey was used for 23:24 on Wednesday night, a hefty amount for a player who's been out a while.
"I think he was good; a little tired for his first game back," Noel said. "I thought he did the best he could, played hard and it would have been a hard game to play, a pretty heavy game."
NOEL has one pretty conclusive theory as to why his team perked up and won three straight home games last week, its best run of the season so far.
"The execution of passes," the coach said Wednesday. "When I watched the pre-game skate today, I'm thinking guys were more confident. Guys have gotten on the board offensively. Guys feel better about themselves winning games and they're just a little bit more loose.
"You can see more tape-to-tape and less bobbling, less schrapnel flying around. About a month ago, there was a fair bit of it. We looked good in the last couple of games. That's what confidence does for you."
-- Gritty forward Joel Ward was a healthy scratch for the Caps against the Jets.
He missed a team meeting before Tuesday's optional practice at home and having broken team rules, was doomed to watch on Wednesday.
"Of course (it's difficult), but it is what it is," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday, clearly not interested in discussing the matter.
Boudreau did bring forward Alexander Semin back into the lineup after scratching him on Monday.
-- Perry Pearn, who was fired by the Montreal Canadiens just a few weeks ago, was in the Verizon Center Wednesday night.
Pearn, a former Winnipeg Jets assistant coach, has a new assignment for the Habs, keeping an eye on rival clubs.