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Hardy Pardy giving it his all

Well-travelled defenceman determined to shed journeyman label

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Jets defencemen Adam Pardy (left) tangles with Olli Jokinen at practice Monday. Pardy knows he has to make the most of his opportunities to stay with the big club.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Jets defencemen Adam Pardy (left) tangles with Olli Jokinen at practice Monday. Pardy knows he has to make the most of his opportunities to stay with the big club. Photo Store

For the impending mess he joined for the weekend, you can at least tip your cap to Winnipeg Jets defenceman Adam Pardy and say he pulled the rope in the right direction.

The 29-year-old from Bonavista, N.L., was called up Saturday in the wake of injuries to Jacob Trouba and Mark Stuart and played his first NHL game of the season Sunday in the 3-1 loss to Nashville.

On the third pairing with Paul Postma, it was 13-minutes 38-seconds' worth and it wasn't bad at all considering the adventures, giveaways and fire drills the Jets have been getting from some of their blue-liners.

"Obviously not good enough when you lose games but I thought there were a lot of good things out there," Pardy said Monday, asked about his own game. "I felt good with the puck, had my head up, my positioning was good, my stick was good.

"Didn't spend a whole lot of time in our zone, which is the main thing you try to take care of, to defend well."

October has not exactly been easy for the veteran, who has been hoping to shed his journeyman label.

From training camp, he went right to the wire of the final cuts, only to be waived and sent to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps. But the team was in Banff and only a few minutes after that decision had been made, an injury to Grant Clitsome kept him around for a few more days.

"As quick as I had a flight booked home to Newfoundland to go play with the IceCaps, 20 minutes later I was told to put my suit on again, that I was staying with the team," Pardy said. "It's been pretty crazy if you look at the last three weeks.

"It's kind of been like that the last few years for me, leaving Calgary and Dallas and Edmonton and Buffalo and then the whole lockout situation, going to Rochester. Now I'm coming here and going through camp and all that situation."

Pardy played three games for St. John's before the quick recall.

"It was a tough situation mentally," he said. "It's never easy when you're being sent down. But you learn the ropes. You look for your opportunities, what's presented. The biggest thing for me (the last couple years) was not being able to put a string of games together with one club, not being able to get that -- comfort is a bad word -- but to feel sharp and fresh and like everything's working and you're just reacting on your skates.

"Trying not to worry about being sent down or being part of a lineup.

"It's been tough to feel like a teammate. The situation continues but you learn to deal with it through experience."

Moping is a waste of time, Pardy said.

"If you're not taking advantage of opportunities, then somebody else is going to take your job," he said.

"We only had three games (with St. John's), had a lot of practice time and a lot of days to think, maybe too much time. Some days you go home and overthink it but I've learned to just put it behind me and wake up every day and do your job.

"If you go, 'oh (bleep), they're going to send me down anyway and I'll be in the minors,' and just play it out, nobody's going to look at you, nobody's going to want you."

Pardy said he's determined to keep putting his best foot forward.

"I know what kind of player I am," he said. "It's not flashy but I'm a confident player with the puck. I'm an NHL player. I'm still working towards that. I'm 29 and I don't want my career to be over right now. Really, this is up to me how far it goes."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 22, 2013 C11

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