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It's not whether Jets win or lose...

In pre-season it's how (or if) they can play the game

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If you're caught up in the winning and losing in the NHL's pre-season, you're missing the point.

Like it or not, evaluation has been the top priority while the Winnipeg Jets have been taking a licking away from home this week.

The Jets were no match for the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon, losers of a 4-0 decision for their third straight defeat away from the MTS Centre.

Winnipeg has been outscored 13-4 in those outings, but no point in fretting, all is not lost, said forward Tanner Glass.

"It's experience for a lot of these younger guys going into their first camps," Glass said after he and his teammates simply were no match for many of the Hurricanes' top players at Time Warner Cable Arena, home of Carolina's AHL farm team. "I remember when I was in my first camp in Florida, it was fun to play against the big-name guys. As a young organization, an organization with a lot of good prospects, I think it's good for those guys to play against some of the top players in the game."

Carolina sent No. 1 goalie Cam Ward in for 60 minutes and he turned away all 26 Wininpeg shots for the shutout.

Glass said the score wasn't all that mattered Sunday.

"It's right now about fine-tuning your game, getting your timing down and your battle level up," he said. "It's a faster game out there than junior or college, wherever you came from."

Jets assistant coach Charlie Huddy, who was handling the bench with fellow assistant Pascal Vincent while head coach Claude Noel was on his way to Newfoundland for today's game, said there will come a time very soon where the veteran players on his team will make more impact.

 

"I think we'll make that point," Huddy said. "And I think the veterans -- I've been in that situation before -- you put enough out just to get by without getting hurt and embarrassing yourself. They're just waiting.

"We've been practising a lot, and we really haven't had a day off, too. I think some of the guys are a little tired. I know it's training camp, but I'm sure the veterans will take it upon themselves the next couple of games. When we're down to two games left, they know when they've got to get ready and I'm sure Claude will get the point across.

"You just can't expect to turn it on when the first game rolls around and be at full speed and full tempo."

Still, Huddy said the evaluation process must be completed.

"At the end of the day you get a good evaluation on guys," Huddy said. "You always go in thinking you want to win the game, but they had a lot of good, solid players in the lineup.

"Give them credit, they played a real solid game. They looked like they've been at it for a while. They were all in the right spots and they had the offence going and they were skating well."

The Canes led 2-0 and 4-0 through the first two periods with enough scoring chances to make it double that.

"We just couldn't handle their speed in certain situations and we had trouble, obviouisly, getting the puck out of our end," Huddy said. "Their defence were pinching down a lot and our forwards had trouble making some plays on the boards under pressure.

"That was a quick-paced game out there and we had a lot of young forwards in the lineup."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 26, 2011 0

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Updated on Monday, September 26, 2011 at 9:04 AM CDT: Fixes art.

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