December 12, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
THE Winnipeg Jets had better cross their digits this is not a sign of things to come.
Yes, the grind that will soon be the 2013 NHL season hasn't even started yet and there are already three bodies in sick bay, as Antti Miettinen has joined Zach Bogosian and Nik Antropov on the hurts list.
Miettinen missed Tuesday's training camp sessions after apparently suffering an "upper-body" injury on Monday.
"He's going to be out indefinitely," said Jets head coach Claude Noel after Day 3. "We're doing some further testing on some things on him to assess the situation. It's not day-to-day. He won't be a player for Saturday."
There is some possible good news on the horizon: Antropov, who skated Saturday but apparently suffered an injury in the KHL, could be back on the ice as early as Wednesday at the MTS Iceplex.
And, as always, one man's misery is another's opportunity. With Miettinen out, Mark Scheifele moved onto the right wing on a line featuring Alex Burmistrov and Alex Ponikarovsky and again flashed some first-round skill.
"We don't have a lot of numbers right here so there's a lot of things that can transpire between today and Saturday," said Noel. "Antropov is a question. We're making assessments and seeing what's what."
FATHER KNOWS BEST: Jets winger Evander Kane spent a good portion of his lockout days training with his father, Perry, a former amateur boxer and college hockey player.
"He taught me everything, he taught me all those things," said Kane. "I'm pretty thankful to have him."
Kane also said his father remains an important sounding board during a season. Asked how often he speaks to him, he said:
"Pretty often. Usually I call home after most games if I can. And he comes out sometimes on the road -- Toronto, Montreal, some of the Canadian (cities).
"Me and him, we obviously have different minds but we have a lot of the same thoughts. He doesn't let a lot of things bother him... and like I said, if it doesn't affect the team and winning, it doesn't really affect me."
TIGHTEN THOSE CHINSTRAPS: Some NHL teams are planning to play their AHL affiliates to get game-ready, others will be using intra-squad games for the same reason. Noel said Wednesday's practice will also replicate game-like situations.
MORE BRAINS FOR THE BRAIN TRUST: The Jets have hired John Phelan as their mental skills coach. A professor at Queen's University, he has worked with several NHL teams over the past dozen years, including Ottawa, Florida, the New York Rangers and Vancouver as well as Canada's Olympic men's hockey team and the Manitoba Moose.
QUOTABLE: "Did I pull my hair out a lot last year? No, but my assistants did." -- Noel, as part of an answer about what he learned from his first year behind the Jets bench.
-- Ed Tait and Paul Wiecek
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2013 C3