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Jacob's ladder starts here

Trouba joins practice, defers to coaches on debut

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Jacob TROUBA joined the Jets on Friday will no illusions about immediate playing time and a sense of humour.

The 19-year-old defenceman, who decided to come out of the University of Michigan after just one season, signed with the NHL team earlier this week.

He was the ninth overall pick of last June's entry draft.

"Up to the coaches," was his response to what action, if any, he might see this NHL season. Given that he hasn't yet had a full practice with the team -- Friday's skate was optional -- it doesn't seem likely it will be right away.

"It's exciting," he said of his first day on the ice as a pro. "It's something I dreamed of my whole life and it's finally here so I'm trying to take advantage of it and learn as much as I can."

Trouba does have some Winnipeg memories, however, and tossed them up with some amusement on Friday.

He was a member of Team USA for the 2011 world under-17 challenge that was played in Manitoba, with the early January playoff rounds at the MTS Centre.

Trouba had two goals and nine points in five games of that tournament and remembers Winnipeg fans distinctly from just more than two years ago.

"Last time I was here I got booed out of the MTS Centre by everyone," he chuckled. "So I'm glad to be back in Winnipeg. Hopefully it's a little bit different this time."

What happened?

"I got pushed from behind into the goalie (Ontario's Daniel Altshuller)," he said. "It wasn't my fault but they didn't like me, every time I touched the puck I got booed."

He received an interference penalty for that play in Team USA's final-game 5-3 loss to Ontario. The night before in the semifinals, Trouba had a goal and two assists, including on the overtime winner against Team Pacific, and also two penalties.

Trouba will wear No. 3 for the Jets.

"No reason," he said Friday. "Every number I've ever worn was taken so I was left with three."

-- -- --

Heading into Friday night's play, Winnipeg Jets left-winger Evander Kane had an unusual NHL rankings double going.

He was second overall in shots on goal, 156, and leading in minor penalties, 21.

Kane's infraction activity has included minor penalties in each of his last four games, three for hooking and one for tripping.

Jets coach Claude Noel said he's aware of the situation.

"Those are discussions I've had with Evander and let's put it that way," Noel said. "It'll remain with Evander and I. It's just part of the process of maturing as a player.

"He wants to do well and his heart's in the right place. He knows he's a target of some players and opposition and that's sometimes what comes with it. That's what you have to learn to deal with. He's not the first person to deal with it."

-- -- --

Noel wanted no part of any discussion about an officiating mistake Thursday by the team of Eric Furlatt and Mark Lemelin. They disallowed a third-period goal by Toby Enstrom, washing out the goal by claiming Blake Wheeler interfered with Montreal goalie Peter Budaj. It was Montreal defenceman Josh Gorges who did the interfering and if there was anyone initiating unnecessary contact, it was Budaj on Wheeler.

And Noel wouldn't have any discussion on whether or not the Jets showed enough anger or outrage about the officiating blunder.

"The referee made the call on the ice," Noel said. "When I looked at the highlight, I made the assessment and went from there. The thought can be whatever they want."

Noel conceded he might have used a coach's challenge on that call, had one actually existed.

"You can argue the point until you're blue in the face but at the end of the day the referee is going to have the last say," he said.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 6, 2013 A1

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Updated on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 10:09 AM CDT: adds video

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