Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Postma, Redmond will get work on farm

Jets boss says he's happy with work of top blue-liners

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AFTER hinting at it in the morning, the Jets sent defenceman Paul Postma to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps on a conditioning assignment on Wednesday afternoon.

The assignment can last up to 14 days. Postma has missed three months because of a blood clot in his leg.

Jets coach Paul Maurice also said he'd like to get defenceman Zach Redmond some action with the IceCaps while he's not in the Jets' lineup. That could come anytime but is likely during the Olympic break because, Redmond, on two-way contract, doesn't require waivers.

In discussing that matter, the coach made it clear he's happy with his current regular six defencemen, pairs Toby Enstrom-Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart-Jacob Trouba and Keaton Ellerby-Adam Pardy.

"I'm comfortable with the way the six guys on our back end have been performing," he said. "You don't want to get into a situation where one mistake and a guy comes out of the lineup.

"Playing defence is built on (the fact that) you're going to make a handful of mistakes every night. You get better from them."

-- -- --

Evander Kane's treatment for an infected hand was satisfactorily completed on Tuesday with no complications, Maurice said.

Maurice dropped the bombshell on Tuesday morning when he revealed the gash on Kane's right hand -- one that had kept him out of four games recently -- had become infected and the left-winger wouldn't be able to play until after the Olympic break.

"It went well," Maurice said. "Everything finished the way we hoped."

-- -- --

The Jets have shown some improvement on defence under Maurice because they have a more simple plan that's working, defenceman Toby Enstrom suggested Wednesday.

"That was one thing we tried to change," Enstrom said. "Like you said, a quick first pass and still try to keep the puck within the team and try to get out of our own end as quick as possible.

"It's been good."

Winnipeg has given up 17 goals in eight games under Maurice and given up two or less in six of those games.

-- -- --

Asked Wednesday if he's missing his former blue-line partner Dustin Byfuglien as part of the defence corps, Enstrom turned a little playful.

"It's actually fun seeing him as a forward," Enstrom said. "He's a big, strong guy and I'm happy to have him up there.

"He still shows up sometimes to the (defence) meetings, thinks he's a defenceman. No, he's just a great guy to have around."

-- -- --

Maurice said Wednesday he wasn't about to start pointing fingers at goalie Ondrej Pavelec for Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Nashville.

"He played exactly like our hockey team did," the coach said pointing out some of the difficulties Pavelec faced, like net traffic, blocked and tipped shots and a broken-stick confusion that led to the winning goal.

"I thought he was battling hard in the net and some of the things he was able to do earlier, he couldn't quite get to some of the things.

"Which means we are expecting a better-looking game in our next game from everybody."

Maurice said he understands the scrutiny he gets for his goaltending choice every night and that it was no snub that Al Montoya, who had won Sunday in Chicago, didn't get the net against the Preds.

"I was pretty happy (with) Pavs' performance in the overtime win the night before," he said. "I don't think you necessarily lose the No. 1 position because the other guy comes in and plays as well as you have.

"I have a history of running a goaltender very hard."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2014 D2

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