IT'S a tough gig being a goaltender in the NHL. And so, Winnipeg Jet head coach Claude Noel isn't going to pile any more expectations and pressure on Ondrej Pavelec that don't already exist.
Here's Noel on Thursday when asked if Pavelec has to improve on his numbers if the Jets are to evolve into a playoff team:
"He was a good player for us last year. I'd like him to improve a little bit on the road, along with our team. And if those numbers can improve a bit, great. I don't expect him to carry the team on his shoulders. We'd like him to play the majority of games and see where that goes.
"I'm not expecting him to carry anything. We need to help each other out and we need to help him out as well.
"When you look at goals against people are going to sit there and say, well... the goaltending. But it's not only the goaltending. We don't have (Zach) Bogosian. Our D, is it vulnerable? I don't believe so, but we're going to have to help them."
THANKS, BUT...: Zach Redmond is busting his backside to make a favourable impression with Jet brass and stick with the big club. On Thursday the young defenceman was selected to attend his second straight AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, R.I., on Jan. 27-28. If he had a choice, Redmond would prefer to remain with the Jets, who are home to the New York Islanders on the 27th before travelling to Montreal and Florida, than being in Rhode Island with AHL types.
Redmond's earlier stint with St. John's this year saw him post 17 points in 36 games while tying for the team lead with eight goals, four of them on the power play.
NEW TEAM FOR REDDEN? Some reports have Wade Redden into a new contract, even by this morning.
It won't be with the Jets.
The 35-year-old former Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman, a native of Lloydminster, Sask., and a veteran of 994 NHL games, was officially bought out of his contract by the New York Rangers in the last day.
It happened this week thanks to massaged rules agreed to by the NHL and NHLPA over accelerated compliance buyouts in the new labour agreement.
But Redden's agent Don Meehan, who has been gauging interest in his client around the league, said Thursday, "I haven't had any interest conveyed by the Jets re Wade's status."
STATUS REPORT: Mark Scheifele, the Jets' 2011 first-rounder was working on the wing on a line with Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn on Thursday while also seeing power-play time. And, without any pre-season games, it will be harder for him to jump off the page in a different role than he is accustomed to in Barrie (OHL).
"I like him. He does some good things," said Noel. "You look at him on the power play and he did some good things. He's being patient. He recognizes what's happening. These things have a way of working themselves out."
-- Ed Tait