Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Physical play key to beating shifty Canucks

Can't give skilled players room: Bogo

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THE Winnipeg Jets haven't seen much of the Vancouver Canucks, and they've only been to Rogers Arena once since taking flight in Winnipeg. That game, in March 2012, ended in a 3-2 loss.

Vancouver maybe isn't quite as daunting as they were that season, but they're playing a tenacious game under coach John Tortorella -- and of course, they still have the twins, among other weapons.

Zach Bogosian, after a solid effort back from injury on Friday, said his group is well aware of the challenges the Canuck pose.

"We have to be physical against them," Bogosian said after practice Saturday. "There's a lot of skilled guys that can make some plays if you give them some time. I think any time you can eliminate their time and space, and make sure that they can't make those tic-tac-toe plays that they're capable of, that'd be a good thing... for us."

-- -- --

Michael Frolik doesn't tend to razzle-dazzle, but he's quietly continued to be one of the most effective players on the squad. His five points in the last five tilts are swell, and his 21 on the season -- sixth on the team and 106th in the NHL -- is a very solid figure for a second-line winger.

Best of all, he's making hay while the sun shines: Frolik's point-production rate per 60 minutes of ice time sits third on the team, just a hair behind Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old is still a restricted free agent after this season. And all of that came at the bargain price of a third- and fifth-round draft pick, both statistically unlikely to net an NHL player.

If we were Kevin Cheveldayoff, we'd relax this holiday season by taking a nice hot bath, pouring a glass of wine and reliving the Frolik trade over and over again. He's the gift from Chicago that just keeps on giving.

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Mark Scheifele climbed into the top 10 in rookie scoring, mostly by capitalizing on the offensive opportunities he's had in December: As of Saturday he was tied with Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli for second in rookie scoring over the month. Worth noting: Of the eight rookies above Scheifele in the top 10 scoring conversation, only Dallas Stars scorer Valeri Nichushkin, 2013 first-overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and San Jose phenom Tomas Hertl are younger.

On that note, Scheifele is now tied with Toby Enstrom for the Jets' longest point streak so far this season, as Enstrom started the year with a five-game flurry of assists.

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 22, 2013 B3

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