Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fehr fares fairly well in Jets' debut

No points for Winkler boy, but 12 solid shifts, 3 shots

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It's a stat line that Eric Fehr normally wouldn't be beaming about:

The Winnipeg Jets winger had 12 shifts in Saturday's win over the Philadelphia Flyers totalling seven minutes and 19 seconds. He had three shots, but didn't pick up a point while working with on a line with Jason Jaffray and Alex Burmistrov.

But given where the Winkler product has come from -- a long road of recovery from off-season shoulder surgery that kept him out of action through the first 19 games this year -- the big picture is much more fulfilling.

"The legs weren't quite where I wanted, but it was good to get the first one out of the way, I'm not going to lie to you," said Fehr. "I was nervous before the game, not only about the shoulder, but just being back home. It's a big win for our team. I'm just happy to move forward."

Asked how his shoulder felt, the 26-year-old former Brandon Wheat King star smiled.

"It feels great. It hasn't felt better."

The Jets opted to activate Fehr Saturday morning and he took Tim Stapleton's place in the lineup. The added bonus was having him on the ice for the first shift in front of almost three dozen friends and family.

"That was great," said Fehr. "I didn't have to sit on the bench and wait for my first shift. The coaches put me out there and I was excited to get that opportunity and I tried to keep it real short.

"I had a couple of turnovers in the first period that I can't be making. It's a pretty quick game... you don't realize how fast it is until you're out there.

"After the first period I thought I got the jitters out of the way a little bit and started playing a little bit better, making smarter decisions. I'm just hoping to get better every day."

Next up for Fehr? A trip to his old stomping grounds in Washington for next Wednesday's contest against the Capitals.

"That'll be a big game, not just because they're such a great team, but because I have a lot of history with them as well," said Fehr. "I'm excited for it."

SMARTER FINISH, PLEASE: Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec on watching a 5-1 second-period lead almost slip away: "It was a great start for us and obviously scoring three goals in the first helps you a lot. But in the second we slowed a little bit and in the third... too many penalties, three times in their zone..."

ON A ROLL: Dustin Byfuglien now has six points in his last four games after scoring once and adding two assists against the Flyers. After his goal he grabbed the Jets crest on the shoulder of his jersey and then pointed to the sky.

Asked to explain afterward, he didn't elaborate much:

"Ahh, that's just something you've got to do sometimes."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2011 B4

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