VETERAN Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey, who has missed 16 games this year due to injury, has been practising regularly with the team and could be back on the ice during the upcoming road trip.
"It's closer," said Hainsey. "Hopefully relatively soon."
Asked if he anticipated he'd play this week, Hainsey grinned and then parroted the company line:
"I hope to play relatively soon.
"It's frustrating when the team doesn't play well and it's frustrating when they do play well. It's been six years since I missed anything more than a game here or there. I'm sick of it, I've had enough of it and I'm hoping to get back relatively soon."
OLD STOMPING GROUNDS: Jets winger Eric Fehr will suit up for his second game of 2011-12 Wednesday in Washington -- his home for the last six seasons before this summer's trade that brought him to Winnipeg. And so this one will be a little bit special, although last Saturday's win over Philly helped to get his juices flowing.
"I kinda feel like I've been there already because last game there was a lot of buildup and it was a bit of an emotional game playing at home for the first time," said Fehr. "I just feel like I've already done it once and so this one should be easier.
"Hopefully I can get a little bit of consistency going. Last game it was tough to get into it... a couple shifts here and there it was tough to get into the flow. But now, hopefully, with a couple of games I'll be able to get a feel for the game and get a little bit more involved."
Fehr said it didn't take long to get his legs under him. As for if there was a moment when he felt 'physically' into it, Fehr cracked: "Maybe when I got cross-checked in the slot from (James) van Reimsdyk. That was a nice one there. I got up no worse for wear and so it was good."
OUCH REPORT: Andrew Ladd, Nik Antropov and Jim Slater all skipped Monday's workout -- mostly to get some rest and heal some bumps and bruises -- but head coach Claude Noel expects all three to be on the ice today. Also not skating was Brett Festerling.
Meanwhile, Noel said that with three games in four nights, he expects to have veteran Chris Mason in goal for at least one contest. Ondrej Pavelec has made 12 consecutive starts.
THE VET SAYS: Here's Hainsey's take on his club, after having an up-close seat while rehabbing from injury:
"We're playing well. We're getting a lot of leads, but we're finding ways to let teams back into games, whether it be through penalties or risky play that's probably not necessary when you're up three or four goals. Our game, as a whole, has looked a lot better. When we want to defend and not take unnecessary chances we've been dominating teams and keeping them on their half of the ice. And it seems like we play have a little case of trying to win 9-1 instead of being happy with 4-1 or 5-1. That's the only thing. The great news is we've really been taking it to some good teams lately, not just the three we've won but even before that. We've just got to be a little smarter."
-- Ed Tait