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Glass relishing return trip to West Coast

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IF he's bitter or hell-bent on revenge, Tanner Glass is hiding it well.

The Winnipeg Jets' winger was one of the last players off the ice during the team's optional skate on Tuesday and as he approached his locker, was greeted by a huge media throng.

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"For me?" he said with a grin as cameras and reporters formed a semicircle around him.

Yes, even though the Jets are in an all-out sprint to a playoff spot late into the regular season, Thursday's game in Vancouver against the Canucks will mark the first time Glass will meet his old mates -- a crew he went to war with last spring in their run to the Stanley Cup final.

"It's one I've had circled on my calendar all along," said Glass. "You try not to look too far ahead at it, but now that it's here I'm sure it's going to be fun. I have a lot of friends on that team and there are a lot of familiar faces around that city, so I'm looking forward to it."

Glass had hoped to return to the Canucks this season after suiting up for 73 regular-season and 20 playoff games. Instead, he remained unsigned by July 1 and signed with the Jets as soon as the free agent market opened. He instantly became a popular and respected leader in the Jets locker- room and has posted career highs in goals (5) and points (14) on the celebrated GST line that includes Chris Thorburn and Jim Slater.

"It was difficult knowing I wasn't going to be back (to Vancouver)," Glass admitted. "They wanted me to go into free agency and wait a little bit, but when the offer's on the table at a place to play like this in the first year of the Jets and they expressed their interest that they wanted me pretty badly... you've got to go where you're wanted. I saw this as a good opportunity to come in and play more and be part of a special season.

"(Going back) would've been harder if I didn't have such a good year here and such a good experience in Winnipeg. This year's been so good, going back to Vancouver is not going to be difficult. It's going to be fun."

A JET AMONG GIANTS: Evander Kane will be the guest of honour at the Vancouver Giants WHL game Wednesday night, where his old squad will add his name to the team's ring of honour and present bobbleheads in his likeness to fans.

"Coming to Winnipeg, it's been a lot different," Kane told Postmedia News this week. "There's a pretty big spotlight on the team, a lot of attention on the team.

"That said, I do feel like I've always been someone who's wanted to embrace that."

ONDREJ THE GIANT: Jets' head coach Claude Noel wouldn't declare Ondrej Pavelec as his starter against the Canucks, but you can bet the boss is going to ride his No. 1 goalie a ton in the final 15 games of the regular season.

"Right now we're looking at Pavelec and the schedule allows us to rest a little bit," said Noel. "We're pouring as much as we can into the games and therefore we're trying to manage the off-game days. The goalie situation? I think Pavelec's in a good place. He's very well-rested. He's managing himself and we'll take it game by game.

"But there' no reason not to go with him if his play continues the same."

HENRIK OR DANIEL? Noel was with the Canucks for a spell during training camp in 2010-11 when he was working with the Manitoba Moose, then Vancouver's AHL affiliate. Asked Tuesday how he told the twins apart he said:

"I just called them 'bro'... then I knew I had them both." Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 7, 2012 D2

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