December 5, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
HE'S putting his NHL team first, Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom said Thursday when asked to discuss his decision to pass on playing for Sweden in the upcoming Olympic hockey tournament.
Enstrom told Swedish national coach Par Marts two weeks ago he'd rather not go to Russia, and instead concentrate on helping the Jets get into the playoffs.
"The roster's not set," Enstrom said. "I sat down with the national team coach a couple of weeks ago, he came to visit me here, and first of all it was a hard decision to make but I decided not to play on the national team.
"I just felt I wanted to focus on Winnipeg here, and the team, and really push for playoffs and I really want to take that time to rest and just be healthy."
Enstrom did play in the Vancouver Games for his country. He said injuries that kept him out much of last season were also a consideration.
"Last year was a tough year for me and I feel like ... I haven't played in the playoffs in six years and that's what I want to do," he said. "That's a big reason why I said no to the national team. I want to focus on Winnipeg and I want to rest my body and be prepared for the (stretch) run.
"It was not an easy decision to make. I've been talking to a lot of people involved and after seeing him a couple of weeks ago, it's been tough but I felt like I did the right thing.
'If I didn't feel 100 per cent about going, I wanted to make it clear to him so I'm not saying that in the last second."
Returns not imminent
There wasn't much good news from Thursday's injury report.
Defenceman Paul Postma is out long-term with a blood clot in his leg. Veteran centre Jim Slater, who has already missed six games, is not close to returning.
"I was hoping he'd be skating by now," Jets coach Claude Noel said.
Defenceman Mark Stuart missed practice Thursday to receive treatment. Noel said he's waiting on a further assessment of Stuart's condition before saying anything more.
And rookie defenceman Jacob Trouba is also not close to returning, despite being spotted a couple of times without his neck brace recently. He has not yet skated since being hurt Oct. 18.
"A couple of Jacob Trouba sightings?" Noel said. "He's not a UFO, last I checked. My understanding is the brace is a part-time thing and he's not day-to-day. He may have it off; he's not in a great deal of discomfort but he takes it off, I do know that."
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 1, 2013 C2