Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets take time to shake off rust

Maurice has plan to smooth return after 10-day layoff

  • Print

They watched a lot of Olympic coverage on television.

They rested up and, in the case of Evander Kane, Matt Halischuk and Jim Slater, healed up.

Judging by the prevalence of tanned faces in evidence as the Winnipeg Jets returned to practice at the MTS Iceplex Wednesday afternoon, many of the players took full advantage of their 10-day Olympic break to do a lot of lying in the sun someplace other than Winnipeg.

But even as their Olympian teammates Blake Wheeler and Olli Jokinen continue to compete in Sochi -- and Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Frolik make their way home after being eliminated Wednesday -- the rest of the Jets began in earnest to look past the Olympics and to the restart of the NHL's regular season, which begins Feb. 27 with a game at home against the Phoenix Coyotes.

'We're going to get them back up to speed as quick as we possibly can. We'll do some conditioning over the next three or four days for sure...'

-- Jets head coach Paul Maurice

So what does that look like? Well, on Wednesday it was a whirl of motion and hanging tongues as Jets head coach Paul Maurice had his team skating very quickly and almost constantly through a 70-minute practice session that looked more like training camp than a mid-season NHL practice.

Let's put it this way -- if you were a Jets player who'd done nothing since Feb. 8 other than drink mojitos and lie on a beach, you paid a steep price.

And Maurice was unapologetic.

"We're going to get them back up to speed as quick as we possibly can," said Maurice. "We'll do some conditioning over the next three or four days for sure, but only because you never get a chance to do that during the regular season. So you take it when you can."

Maurice added, however, that he will also make some time for fun for his team this week, moving up the start time of practice on Friday so that his team will be off the ice in time to watch the Canada-U.S. semifinal hockey game from Sochi -- a game that will include Wheeler playing for the U.S.

"At the end of the day, hockey events is what we're all about. And this is a big game -- Canada and the U.S. at the Olympics," said Maurice. "It's about respecting the game and where we're at."

Maurice was asked if attendance will be mandatory even for players such as defenceman Zach Bogosian, who said Wednesday he has avoided watching any hockey from Sochi because he feels he has "enough hockey in my life, I don't need to have it at home."

Oh well, said Maurice.

"Well they'll be talking to the back of somebody's head then (on Friday)," said Maurice. "They will be there. I don't know if I will hold them to watch the whole thing, but they're definitely getting through the first period together."

The Jets were on a blistering 9-3-1 tear under Maurice heading into the Olympic break and Jets captain Andrew Ladd was asked what the squad has to do to pick up where they left off. "I think you have to use practice to get that pace back up," said Ladd. "I think that was the best part of our game the last 10 games or so was the pace we got to and how we were playing.

"We were playing with speed and confidence and we've got to get that back in the next seven or eight days before we get going again. I think we all realized how much fun it was to play that hockey and we all want to get back to doing it."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2014 D6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Sanders gives other candidates a reality check

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up

View More Gallery Photos

Ads by Google