Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pavs' Nail-ing still angers Jets

Oilers forward's blatant elbow goes unpunished

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Before their attention had moved on to battling the Minnesota Wild Friday night, the some Winnipeg Jets were pretty clear that four days after the fact, they were still irritated by more than just an ugly loss Monday in Edmonton.

During that game, while it was still being contested and long before it descended into a rash of penalties and attempted retaliation, the elbow delivered by Oilers forward Nail Yakupov to the head of Jets goal Ondrej Pavelec hadn't been forgotten.

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The head shot went unpenalized -- some evidence of incompetence by referees Kyle Rehman and Brian Pochmara.

And neither that blow nor the stickwork that came later passed the threshhold for any further punishment by the NHL office.

"Uncalled for," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd of Yakupov's elbow.

"I didn't see it, just saw it on the replay," said the victim, Pavelec. "Just a cheap shot. An elbow to the face."

Was further league discipline warranted, Pavelec was asked?

"It's not a question for me," the goalie said. "We lost the game. It wasn't the reason why we lost the game. I don't really care. But you can get hurt from that."

-- -- --

It's said games like Friday's will give coaches premature grey hair.

It may still be true but Jets coach Claude Noel was rounding up all the positives he could find after the 6-4 victory that saw seven goals in the ragged first period.

"When that game showed itself like that, I thought that's just a typical, three-days-off-after-Christmas type of game," Noel said. "I knew it would stop at some point.

"I thought it played out better in the second. I would have liked to have seen a little more activity from us but I thought we did a really good job of gathering ourselves for the third period and then turning around and trying push this thing ahead, not just sitting at 4-4.

"We wanted to get this thing over the hump ... which, when you look back at (Sunday's game in) Vancouver, we talked about that before.

"And I thought we took some steps there."

Noel said it was important the Jets didn't just put it in neutral when the game was 4-4, a characteristic the team has shown this season in close games.

"I didn't think we sat back," he said. "I thought we played on our toes. I didn't think we sat there waiting to see how this game, the result would be."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 28, 2013 C2

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