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Doing the blue-line shuffle again

Postma, Meech could fill Enstrom's spot

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IT is a juggling act the Winnipeg Jets have done before and may have to force their way through again.

Defenceman Toby Enstrom -- who was injured in Tuesday's win over the Buffalo Sabres after being hit into the boards by Steve Ott -- did not participate in Wednesday's optional practice at the MTS Centre and is being listed as day-to-day.

"He's a little bit sore today so I'm not sure what will happen there," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "And I'm not sure who would go in, if that's your follow-up question. We'll see (Thursday) in the morning."

Enstrom did take a shift after the collision with Ott, but exited not long after. Noel confirmed it was an issue with Enstrom's back.

"It's mid-body range," said Noel. "We've taken it to another level. Upper body, lower body and we're going mid-range now. It's a case of soreness."

If Enstrom can't go it's likely either Paul Postma or Derek Meech would draw back into the lineup over Jacob Trouba or Arturs Kulda, who have yet to play a regular-season game this year.

"(Kulda) is a guy that played last year and at a high level this year in the KHL," said Noel. "I like the way he plays. Is he going to play? It's the same with Trouba, that question comes up all the time. It's as simple as you want to make it: we're trying to win games and if they're part of it great. We'll have to wait and see."

The Jets were without Enstrom for 19 games earlier this season after he injured his shoulder in February. During his absence the team went 11-7-2. Enstrom also missed 20 games last year and the Jets still managed to go 10-7-3 without him in the lineup.

NO REST IN SIGHT: Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has now spent 2,121 minutes and 57 seconds between the pipes this season, second-most in the NHL to Nashville's Pekka Rinne (2,203:53). But don't expect him to get many nights off as the club makes their sprint to a possible playoff spot.

"It doesn't concern me too much with him because I think he's managed it well," said Noel. "(Goaltending coach) Wade Flaherty has helped him through that. He's a young guy. If he was older as an athlete I think it would be tougher. But I think it's good for him and I think he's enjoying it. He views this a challenge and is ready to take this step.

"I talked to him this morning and he feels good. He goes out for the optionals (practices), he's trying to figure ways to manage it. He has logged a lot of time, but his play has been really good. It's hard to argue with the way he's played."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2013 D2

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