Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Can Kane raise the offence?

Jets anxiously await return of team's leading goal scorer

  • Print

Jets coach Claude Noel, amid the disappointment of his team's just-completed 2-4 road trip that surrounded the NHL All-Star Game, offered a glimmer of hope on Monday when he met with reporters.

The coach said the team's leading goal scorer, left-winger Evander Kane, could be ready to return to the lineup as early as tonight when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the MTS Centre.

Kane, who has 18 goals, has missed seven games with a concussion. He has not scored, however, since Dec. 29, a period of 10 games without a goal before he was hurt.

"He's feeling better," Noel said Monday. "He'll be a game-time decision. He's close. If it's not (tonight's) game, potentially Thursday."

Kane did skate on Monday, as did forward Tim Stapleton. Noel said Stapleton (lower-body injury) is close to returning to the lineup as well.

As for other lineup decisions for tonight's game, Noel was less forthcoming.

He scratched right-winger Eric Fehr, who has one goal in 29 games this season, on Sunday.

"We'll wait for tomorrow and see," Noel said about Fehr.

-- -- --

Noel was expecting to be grilled about the matter of the team's lack of offence on Monday so he began his noon-hour session in a more lighthearted mood than over the weekend when he called a question about concern over scoring one goal per game "dumb."

He joked with reporters on Monday that he'd take one question on the subject, and so it came first.

"Some things have to change a little bit," the coach responded. "We have to be better on our power play."

Winnipeg had no man-advantage goals during its six-game road trip, it's longest power-play drought of the season. The Jets have power-play goals in just two of their last 13 games.

"We really have to dig into (that) today, the coaches... and we have to execute a lot better," Noel added. "It's kind of a reflection of the way we're executing and playing.

"There is a point where I think it will come but you can't just rely on it. You have to coach it."

One other area of sub-par performance: the team misses the net a lot.

Sunday, losing 3-0 to Montreal, Winnipeg had 23 shots on goal, 24 shots that missed the net and 12 shots blocked.

Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, went without a single shot on goal for the first time in the 38 games he's played this season.

"You can go up and around and all over the place. It's not just Buff," Noel said. "In today's game, it's not always easy to hit the net because sometimes you've got to miss the first guy."

-- -- --

Defenceman Derek Meech, who was sent to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps a little over two weeks ago, will miss most of the rest of the regular season with another knee injury.

Meech is out six to eight weeks after being hit late and from an awkward angle by Scott Howes of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in his third game back from an earlier knee surgery.

Meech played just games for the Jets before having the surgery in the fall.

-- -- --

The Jets and their .500 record (24-24-6) have a ways to travel now if they are to participate in the NHL's post-season.

Noel talked Monday about having to win two out of every three games from here to the finish.

"Five hundred doesn't cut it, you're not going to be there," he said. "We have to do better."

He then said the next six or eight games will tell the tale.

"We have a two-week window here that we have to make things happen," he said, noting the NHL's trading deadline of Feb. 27 was not only fast approaching, but also hinting that it will be a factor in what might happen.

"You're either going to play with that line or you're not," Noel said. "There's a difference. It's really hard, this time of year, to make up points."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 7, 2012 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Theresa Oswald announces bid for NDP leadership

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who should get more playing time in Jets net?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google