Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No sooner than Antro, Enstrom and Burmi get back, Little lost

The hurts just keep on coming

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A rumour that has been squelched: The Winnipeg Jets have not installed a turnstile in the pathway leading into their training room.

It would make for a heckuva idea, however, especially given all the injuries the team has suffered through the first 32 games this season.

And so it was Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks as Alex Burmistrov, Nik Antropov and Toby Enstrom returned to action, but Bryan Little was lost after he took a shot off the back in the first period. Little, said head coach Claude Noel, will be day-to-day until the extent of the injury is further examined.

As an update: Randy Jones is still out... newcomer Antti Miettinen should be go to go against the Islanders on Tuesday... Eric Fehr is still working on finding his game after off-season shoulder surgery... Mark Flood is a healthy scratch...

The Jets' roster, it would seem, is in a constant state of flux.

"We got ourselves another win. I wouldn't say it was the prettiest win, but we got a win and that's what good teams do, " said head coach Claude Noel. "It looks like our group needs to practice together. When I watch us play that's what it looks like to me... we've got to get some chemistry back with our group. We had people coming in and it looked like it had some effect tonight."

Ladd, for his part, was happy to see Antropov back centering his line.

"We clicked pretty good," said Ladd. "The nice thing about having him back is, between me and him we always seem to be able to get somebody at the net, which is a big advantage, and Welly (Kyle Wellwood) roams around and finds those soft spots and gets his chances."

NO. 1A: Veteran netminder Chris Mason was solid in Saturday's win over Anaheim and has now backstopped the Jets to three consecutive wins in his starts. He now sports a 2.22 goals against average, .913 save percentage and 4-2-0 record.

JOYEUX NOEL: Christmas can bring the usual distractions for any hockey team, especially for a Jets' squad still with three home games this week -- Tuesday against the Islanders and then on the 22nd and 23rd vs the Canadiens and Penguins.

"It's the distractions," said Noel. "You've got family coming into town, you've got people asking you to sign this and that... it's different, but you've got to deal with it. It's like the playoffs -- the farther you go the more distractions you have.

"We'll deal with it. We have to focus on having a good week."

MEANWHILE, DOWN ON THE FARM: Patrice Cormier scored twice as the St. John's IceCaps beat the Portland Pirates 5-2 in American Hockey League play Sunday.

Jason King, Kevin Clark and Carl Klingberg each added singles for the IceCaps (17-7-5), who scored three times in the second period.

St. John's defenceman Paul Postma chipped in with three assists.

Patrick O'Sullivan and Brett MacLean replied with goals for Portland (13-12-3).

IceCaps goaltender Edward Pasquale made 29 saves, while at the other end Curtis McElhinney stopped 32 shots.

QUOTABLE: "It was kind of comical to see the fans cheer for (Selanne) and boo everyone else. People must have been out of breath. I can say that was a really fun game to be a part of, to be able to say you played in Teemu's first game back in Winnipeg." -- Zach Bogosian.

MR. HONEST: Here's Ducks' goaltender Dan Ellis after allowing five goals on 31 shots in the loss to Winnipeg: "I take full blame for that entire loss. "That's on me to play better. To make more saves. Do whatever it takes to win. Because right now, we need more out of everyone. My responsibility is to make all the saves. It's a shame to play that way for Teemu, for his homecoming. Just brutal."

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

-- with files from The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 19, 2011 C2

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