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Game for some action

Mason anxious to tend goal after lengthy layoff

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Chris Mason has had a dang good seat during the Jets' recent run back to respectability. Now he's hoping to make a significant contribution in the team's next step and it's likely to come this week as the Jets play three games in four nights.


Mason, the veteran 35-year-old netminder, hasn't played since pulling a groin in that crazy 9-8 win over Philadelphia on Oct. 27. He has a 1-2 record with a 2.68 goals-against average and a save percentage of .893.

"I feel good. I'm back up to 100 per cent and Claude gave me a few extra practices to get ready for games. He told me I should get ready for this week," Mason said. "I'm looking forward to getting back in. I felt pretty good before I got injured there. It's been three-four weeks since I had game action. You can only practise so much and there's no replacement for game situations. I'm looking forward to getting back in the net. Pav's (Ondrej Pavelec) played unbelievable here, he's played a lot of games and when you get the opportunity to play in a lot of games you get in a comfort zone. He looks pretty comfortable. I'll get in there and give him a break and hopefully we'll continue and I'll help the team win a game."


-- HEALTHY BODIES COMING BACK: The revolving door to the Jets' infirmary may finally be ready to stop spinning. Back on the ice Tuesday at the MTS Iceplex before the team jetted out on the road were forwards Andrew Ladd, Nik Antropov and Jim Slater, while defenceman Ron Hainsey has all but been green lighted to return to action.

"Sometimes you got rest, flu, banged up... that's life in the NHL," explained head coach Claude Noel. "They're a lot better today, they feel better today.( Ladd) has been down with the flu a little bit so he doesn't have a whole lot of energy. They'll be OK for tomorrow, we hope. Ron Hainsey is pretty close. We're very optimistic he'll be in."

The Jets will be facing a Capitals team they beat last week here in Winnipeg, but which is coming off a 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes Monday night. The Caps are just 4-5-1 in their last 10, but sport an impressive 7-1-1 home record.

"They'll be a more confident group," said Noel. "They'll be at home with the comforts of home. I'm sure at this juncture for them they're going to be tired of what's going on around their existence. We expect we're going to have to play very well against them. It'll be all we can handle against them. They're a good team and Bruce (Boudreau) is a good coach. They'll get it sorted out, we just don't want them to get it sorted out when we're playing them."


-- EVEN IT UP: The Jets (8-9-3) have a chance Wednesday to even their record and getting to .500 is one of their short-term goals.

"There's some goals we've had since the beginning of the year, but we've been chasing that .500 mark for awhile," Noel said. "We've put ourselves one game closer to that, so we'll focus on that. We've played pretty well in three games, but of the three games our last game against Philly was the one that was more disjointed than the other ones. But I'm pretty happy about where the team's at. We've got to continue to work the same way on the road and become a hard team to play against. We know what that means now."


-- FARM NEWS: The St. John's IceCaps have signed defenceman Mike Montgomery to a professional tryout contract. The 25-year-old product of Lino Lake, Minn., has played in 14 games this season with the Ontario Reign in the ECHL after spending the last four seasons playing for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Montgomery was the Bulldogs' captain and helped them claim their first-ever NCAA championship. Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 23, 2011 C5

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