Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Noel making plans for cutdown

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IT could be the fact that Oct. 9 is fast approaching. Or maybe Claude Noel and his coaching staff are getting a little weary of two and three-a-day on-ice sessions.

After all, that many hours on skates can be a little tough on a guy's feet.

Expect the Winnipeg Jets to begin whittling down their roster to more manageable numbers, perhaps as early as today, as they head into a stretch of five games in seven days -- including this Saturday through Monday in Nashville, Carolina and St. John's.

"After Monday we've only got two exhibition games (left), it's time to buckle down," Noel said. "Who are the lines? Who are we looking to play? Who are the guys on the bubble?

"We're organizing ourselves here to see where we're going to go moving ahead. Some of these things just take time to play out. We're making assessments every day."

The Jets will send one squad to Nashville Friday and Noel along with Keith McCambridge and Mark Morrison will work the bench for that game and then at the Kraft Hockeyville game in Newfoundland. The other team, to be coached by Pascal Vincent and Charlie Huddy, will be in Carolina for Sunday's game.

 

-- SICK BAY UPDATE: Kyle Wellwood and Marco Rosa have been cleared for contact and are now good to go... Blake Wheeler took a shot to the ankle in Columbus and was kept off skates on Wednesday. Also nicked up are Randy Jones and David Koci.

 

-- NOTABLE: WHL commissioner Rob Robison said Wednesday his league is not immediately looking at expansion. He did add, however, that the WHL does want a presence in the biggest cities in Western Canada -- including Winnipeg.

"With the NHL, given the fact we've co-existed so well in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, we feel certainly Winnipeg long-term would make sense," Robison told The Canadian Press. "Clearly the priority would be another team on (Vancouver) island or Winnipeg."

Robison added that it's too early to talk to the Jets ownership about owning a WHL team or whether it would give the green light to one setting up in this market.

"Whatever direction we go, we have to have full endorsement from the NHL team because we would not want to be in a competitive position, rather a complementary position to offer a lower price point for fans," Robison said. "It's dictated also by the facility."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 22, 2011 C3

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