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Jets coach fits in a rare practice

Players welcome short MTS Centre workout

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THERE aren't many windows in which to do it so Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel opted to have his team practise on Friday at the MTS Centre.

The team meets the Carolina Hurricanes today at 2 p.m. (TSNJets, TSN1290).

The on-ice workout didn't last long, officially just 33 minutes, the morning after a 4-0 loss in Pittsburgh.

"I was pretty tired when I came in this morning but once I got on the ice, I felt pretty good," said Jets centre Bryan Little.

"I think it was something that was needed. I can't even remember the last time we practised that wasn't a pre-game skate. It was nice to get out there to work on a few things, but it wasn't too long."

Jets winger Kyle Wellwood said there are often many reasons to want to practise.

"We don't have any practice (Saturday) and they're hard to get in right now," he said. "I wore new skates today, trying to break them in. It's hard to wear them in games right out of the box. You want a practice or two at least but it's taken me almost a month to wear them."

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The Jets' injury situation won't likely provide any changes for this afternoon's contest against Carolina.

Left-winger James Wright, out for a week (four games), had an orange, no-contact practice jersey on for Friday's workout. He's listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Also day-to-day is defenceman Mark Stuart, out since the series with Washington more than a week ago. He sounds doubtful for today.

Winger Anthony Peluso (suspected broken hand) was back on the ice on his own Friday but remains week-to-week, the same status as centre Jim Slater, also out with a hand injury.

Noel said Friday that defenceman Ron Hainsey and centre Nik Antropov were held out of practice Friday for maintenance reasons only.

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The team said Friday that defenceman Zach Redmond, out for the year after a serious skate cut in his leg suffered Feb. 21, will be back in Winnipeg next week, presumably for medical assessments and updates.

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The Jets made no secret that their No. 1 man in goal, Ondrej Pavelec, will be in today's game.

And he's rested, after backup Al Montoya faced the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

It was obvious Thursday Pavelec is getting a little weary of answering the same questions about the same issue over and over again.

"I'm going to be honest," began Pavelec after Friday's practice. "You guys ask me every time how I feel when I'm playing or not playing. I don't think it's a big deal that the goalie plays a lot of games. A lot of goalies are doing it so I don't see a reason why the goalie couldn't do it. Players can do it, I think goalies can do it, too.

"I feel good. I feel ready to go."

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Jets left-winger Evander Kane was asked Friday what the mood of the team was heading for next Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.

"I think it's a lot better than it was last year because of the position we're in," Kane said. "I think guys are feeling pretty comfortable with one another. It'll be up to management, see what they do. Hockey's a business and I think everybody in the room knows that."


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 30, 2013 C2

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