Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Noel won't commit on Burmi's return

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HE'S young, has the deft touch of a brain surgeon and iron will to compete.

But Alex Burmistrov's play of late -- a tendency to go east-west, not north-south and not consistently make the trustworthy decisions with the puck -- first found him benched during the Winnipeg Jets' recent road trip and then banished to the press box for Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was the first on the ice for practice Wednesday at the MTS Iceplex and, naturally, a swarm of media surrounded his locker afterward. Not that Burmistrov was offering a whole lot of public insight on what has transpired over the last few days.

"That's a coach's decision," he began in a short session that included more questions than answers and lasted all of 100 seconds. "I guess I'm not playing that good. I will just stick with working hard in practice and trying to get back."

Asked what he thought he had to work on to get back in the lineup, Burmistrov said: "I don't know. You should ask this coach."

And so it went...

Reporter: Is there anything in particular you (and Claude Noel) talked about?

Burmistrov: "No."

Reporter: So you are just waiting for your next turn?

Burmistrov: "Yeah. I'm just waiting and keeping on working hard."

Reporter 2: How tough is it to sit out?

Burmistrov: "It would have been tougher if we had lost. But we win so that mean coach made a good decision."

Reporter 3: Is there anything in particular you would like to change about your play lately?

Burmistrov: "Everybody know what kind of player I am. I'll stick with that, I think."

Reporter: 3: You are second in the team in hits (now third behind Evander Kane and Mark Stuart)...

Burmistrov: "I don't know. I can't answer a question like this because I don't know. You should ask coach."

Worth noting: Burmistrov wasn't being short or confrontational. But clearly this is an issue he wants to leave behind closed doors. The same went for Noel when he was quizzed on the subject and asked why Burmistrov was taken out of the lineup.

"It was just a coach's decision... which is one I don't want to share with you," said Noel.

And when pressed if Burmistrov would be back in the lineup tonight against the Rangers, Noel added:

"We don't know. That will be a game-time decision. Would you like to ask me another way? I'll give you the same answer, you can give me 12 different ways."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2013 D3

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