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This article was published 19/2/2014 (1024 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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.
'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...'
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.
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."