Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Make-or-break time for prospective NHLers

Those on bubble must make move

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STEP under the microscope, Winnipeg Jets: your games are about to be magnified big-time.

The Jets are entering a critical training-camp stretch this weekend with games Saturday in Nashville, Sunday in Carolina and Monday in St. John's. Following these three games the club will return home for its final two exhibition contests and then will have nine days to prep for the regular-season opener against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 9.

"Everybody has a chance to accomplish something. Everybody has an opportunity to ingrain themselves into what they're going to be," said Jets head coach Claude Noel Friday. "Everybody has an opportunity to do something this weekend that gives me information. That's the important thing for me: new guys, they have a chance to either be bubble guys or not, or be close or not.

"It's early in the process, we've got some games to go. You're assessing and making evaluations everywhere. It's all good stuff."

Noel will be with the squad that is in Nashville and then heading to St. John's and will be assisted by IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge and assistant coach Mark Morrison. Jets' assistant coaches Pascal Vincent and Charlie Huddy will run the show for the team that is in Carolina on Sunday.

Interestingly, the coaching staff wanted to give some of the veteran players who missed out on playing in front of the raucous crowd in Winnipeg on Tuesday the chance to experience the Kraft Hockeyville game in Newfoundland.

"Where I'm sensitive to that is the group that went to Columbus on the same night we were here in celebration of a big game... those guys are sensitive to playing (in Columbus)," said Noel. "I mean, there was no enthusiasm there at all and those guys needed some loving because they felt neglected. We'll try to give them a hug and put them in that St. John's game."

ANOTHER VOICE: Vancouver's Rick Ball -- the voice of the B.C. Lions and Canucks -- will also be calling some Jets' games this year. He'll call one-third of the Jets' games on Hockey Night in Canada when their full-time crews are elsewhere.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 24, 2011 C3

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