Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

IceCaps call-ups hungry for playoff action

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IT might say something about what the Winnipeg Jets have growing down on the farm and, in particular, of the work of GM Craig Heisinger, head coach Keith McCambridge & Co. in building a winner.

The Jets re-assigned six players to the St. John's IceCaps Saturday and, to a man, they'll tell you they can't wait to get back to Newfoundland.

"We have a great team down there," said Carl Klingberg after Friday's win over the Calgary Flames. "We have a lot of good rookies and veterans that are leading the team. We're having a lot of fun down there and there's a real good team feeling."

Klingberg, along with goaltender Michael Hutchinson, defencemen Zach Redmond and Ben Chiarot and centres Patrice Cormier and Eric O'Dell, hoped to be on the ice Monday for the IceCaps as they attempt a deep push into the playoffs.

"The plan is to head St. John's pretty quick," said Hutchinson. "I know all the guys who are up here, the whole time we were up we were talking about who we could match up with in the playoffs. We've got a really deep team in St. John's and feel we could make a strong run."

Hutchinson was 2-1 with the Jets with a 1.64 GAA and .943 save percentage but before that went 15-5-1 with the IceCaps and 4-2 with the ECHL's Ontario Reign.

Combine all his totals and he is 39-10-3 this season.

"This is definitely an experience of a lifetime," said Hutchinson. "At the start of the year I didn't think it would be possible so, I just enjoyed every second I've been up here.

"It's been quite a journey, with signing in the summer with Winnipeg and starting the year in the East Coast League. I didn't feel that this would be possible. I couldn't be happier with how this year worked out and there's still a long way to go back in St. John's in the playoffs and that's what I'm looking forward to now and I'm pretty excited about our team over there."

HE'LL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE FIRST... SORT OF: Klingberg scored his first career NHL goal in Friday's win over Calgary. He'll tell you this about the effort -- it's a good thing he saw the replay of it.

"We had a good cycle going and (Patrice) Cormier had the puck down in the corner and two guys went on him and he won the battle," said Klingberg. "I picked up the puck from him and from there I don't even remember... I just tried to take it to the net in the best possible way and it worked out pretty fine. I didn't even realize what I did until I watched the replay."

INJURY WATCH: They'll have a long time to heal, but Jacob Trouba took a puck in the throat and the medical staff opted not to have him return to the game. Meanwhile, Jim Slater broke his finger in the game.

FYI: The Jets were the first team in the NHL to finish their schedule... Winnipeg won 60.6 per cent of its faceoffs Friday, led by Slater, who went 11-1 on the dot while Cormier, who has two assists, was 9-3.

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

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2014 B3

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