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No fan of deadline day

Jets' Maurice says he has little interest in what happens

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Islanders defenceman Travis Hamonic slows down Winnipeg forward Bryan Little  during second-period action at the MTS Centre Tuesday.

JASON HALSTEAD / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Islanders defenceman Travis Hamonic slows down Winnipeg forward Bryan Little during second-period action at the MTS Centre Tuesday. Photo Store

It has become one of the biggest events on the NHL calendar -- trade-deadline day -- and while the deals were already swirling all around them, many of the Winnipeg Jets seemed more interested in putting the blinders on to the whole thing.

"I have almost little or no interest in it," said Jets coach Paul Maurice prior to Tuesday's game against the New York Islanders. "I'm still figuring out what we've got here.

"I also know that this is a really, really young team. Now, it hasn't been packaged that way in the media as an excuse and it shouldn't be for where they are. But we need the room for our young players to play and develop. I want to see these kids play. I mean I like (Mark) Scheifele at 18-20 minutes a night... (Jacob) Trouba at 24 (minutes). Every time you add another piece, the big thing is whose ice is he taking?

'I love it. I'm a western boy and a farm kid. I like the cold weather. Everyone on my team is complaining but I don't think it's too, too bad at all'

-- Travis Hamonic

"Part of my experience here and in every conversation that I've had with Kevin (Cheveldayoff) there's been a plan and a place where they want to go, with whatever: with players, with how they run the team, how we run the schedule, with everything.

"This is the plan we'd like to do and we're going to stay with that. I'm very confident they're going to continue on with the plan in how they build this team."

The NHL trade deadline is 2 p.m. today and, unlike last year when the Jets were in action that night in Montreal, the team will not be playing. That will allow some whose interest may be piqued the opportunity to gobble up the last-minute deals like every diehard fan.

"It's entertaining to watch, let's put it that way," said Evander Kane.

"You can't really control what happens. You kinda wait and see. Obviously, every deadline the media makes a big deal out of it. We'll see what happens, but I'm not expecting anything big. You never know. I don't really follow the chatter or what's going on. I just follow the trades when they happen and usually it happens on the last day.

"We're 11-3-1 with this group. It's hard to be dissatisfied with that but at the same time I'm not the general manager and every team, no matter what position you're in, is always looking to get better."

GOOD OLD 'TOBA BOY: Travis Hamonic, has been home before during his NHL career, but visits to Friendly Manitoba -- even in the midst of a deep freeze -- never seem to get old.

"This is a special place to me," Hamonic told a throng of media before Tuesday's game. "I'm a proud Winnipegger and Manitoban. So, to have a chance and play here is pretty exciting to me.

"I love it. I'm a western boy and a farm kid. I like the cold weather. Everyone on my team is complaining but I don't think it's too, too bad at all. Even during the Olympic break I came back to Winnipeg. So to be out West and playing against some of these cities... it's nice and it's a place I don't come to often. I'm going to cherish these moments."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2014 D3

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