Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kane might be healed in time to face Blues, Noel says

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EVANDER KANE might yet be a player when the Winnipeg Jets meet the St. Louis Blues tonight at the MTS Centre.

Jets coach Claude Noel said after practice Thursday Kane is day-to-day, leaving open the possibility he could still play and not miss a game after being helped off the ice during Wednesday's on-ice session at the MTS Iceplex.

Kane was favouring his right leg or knee.

"It turned out to be day-to-day, not severe," the coach said.

The coach also said even though centres Bryan Little and Jim Slater were missing from practice on Thursday, too, both of them are expected to be in action against the Blues.

"We're day-to-day on three guys that were missing practice... Little was maintenance, Slater was the same and we're expecting them to play," Noel said. "Evander Kane is also day-to-day and we'll see how that shakes down for tomorrow's game."

Asked directly if Kane could play against the Blues, Noel said: "Potential (player), yes. We'll have to wait to see.

"We'll know more tomorrow. We don't know any more than that."

-- The Jets and Blues have just one meeting in their history since the NHL's return to Winnipeg, a February, 2012 shootout win by the Blues at the MTS Centre.

Tonight will mark the next page of the story between St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock and his former assistant Claude Noel, now coach of the Jets.

"Your focus is to win the game," Noel said Thursday at the MTS Centre. "You know the game that Hitch's teams present.

"I've been with him six years together, three in Kalamazoo and pretty much three in Columbus. He's very defensive oriented, they're very strong on pucks and if you can get the win against his teams, it's a well-earned win. That's what we'll be looking to do."

Noel said the friends aren't in contact quite as much these days.

"Not that often," he said. "We both are busy, both have coaching lives. Now we don't share information because we're in the same division."

-- The Jets moved right-winger Chris Thorburn to the injured-reserve list Thursday, making the move retroactive to Oct. 4, the night Thorburn played his last game against the L.A. Kings.

The forward has been skating on his own but his upper-body injury has kept him out of practice and the Jets are saying he's more than day-to-day.

-- At 44.5 per cent, the Jets aren't the NHL's worst faceoff team, but they are close. Before Thursday's play, Winnipeg was in the bottom four, 27th and better only than New Jersey, Calgary and Florida, which was last at 43 per cent.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 18, 2013 C2

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