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Winnipeg Jets

Kane not shy about wanting ice

But mum on method of letting coach Noel know of hunger for shifts

Evander Kane makes no bones about it. He likes to play and he likes to play a lot.

Kane has spent the last two seasons skating on what the fans refer to as the Jets' second line with a variety of players. Winnipeg's big line of Bryan Little centring Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler is referred to as the Jets' big line.

The Jets' Evander Kane (9) takes down the Oilers' Nail Yakupov (64) during their pre-season game at the MTS Centre Winnipeg Tuesday.

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Jets' Evander Kane (9) takes down the Oilers' Nail Yakupov (64) during their pre-season game at the MTS Centre Winnipeg Tuesday.

Kane says his team needs more of the same from the rest of the units.

"We need three lines that can score. In terms of the order, I don't look at myself as a second-line player," said Kane, who played briefly in the third period before leaving the game with stomach cramps. He's expected to be OK.

"I play a lot of minutes. I enjoy playing a lot of minutes and the coach knows it. I feel like sometimes I can go every other shift. And I let him know that. I want us to have two dominant lines this year."

When told of Kane's response, Noel smirked.

"Evander's not the only player that likes to play a lot. I would say they all want to play a lot," he said.

Kane was asked how he communicates to Noel during a game when he wants more ice.

"I'm not going to say what I do," he laughed. "But (Noel) knows when I want more. He knows."

IN THE CIRCLE: Jets centre Jim Slater says the pre-season is mostly about his work in the faceoff circle.

"You can't really work on your draws during the summer. It's not something you can do alone and it's hard to find a guy to drop the puck and another to go against," said Slater. "I find myself thinking about an invention that would let a guy work on his faceoffs alone. It's so important to my game. Now when we're all here and have time and the coaches to drop the puck, it's something I focus on during camp. Any time we can get the puck off the draw, it gives us an edge. Hey, most of my assists come from when I win a faceoff."

IN THE BUFF: Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien came into his 2013 pre-season debut Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers off a pair of seasons in Winnipeg that put him in some very elite company.

While Byfuglien has never led the NHL in single-season scoring among defenceman, his combined 81 points over the last two seasons were second among defencemen only to the 92 combined points registered by Erik Karlsson, Ottawa's Norris Trophy winner.

Pittsburgh's Kris Letang was third among NHL defencemen over that same period with 80 points, followed by Nashville's Shea Weber with 77 and Ryan Suter, who put up 76 points with Nashville and Minnesota the last two years.

PLAYOFF PLAYERS: The off-season additions of forwards Devin Setoguchi and Michael Frolik to the Jets lineup will add some much-needed playoff experience to the young Jets roster should the team get that far this season.

With 53 playoff games under his belt, Setoguchi ties Jets captain Andrew Ladd as the most playoff-seasoned players on the roster.

Those two are followed by Byfuglien, who has 39 playoff career playoff games, and then Frolik with 34 games -- 23 of those coming in his Stanley Cup run with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.

It's a steep drop-off after that to Mark Stuart's 22 career playoff games and Blake Wheeler's 21 playoff games.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2013 C3

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