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Some Oilers accusing Trouba of head-hunting

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A bit of bleating by bloggers in Edmonton this week over something that didn't happen, ignoring something that did.

Apparently the Oilers were upset Tuesday when Jets rookie defenceman Jacob Trouba barely missed a hard check on Edmonton forward Taylor Hall, calling it a head hunt.

"I don't see that," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "He's a player that plays with bite."

Trouba shook his head at the accusation.

"I don't know," he said. "I didn't even hit him. How's that head-hunting? Don't think I did anything wrong."

Trouba took his run, but nothing came of it.

A player who didn't miss earlier in the game was Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid, who smacked Mark Scheifele's head into the glass, from behind, not once but twice.

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It's been a very Trouba week in Winnipeg after Game 1 and Noel sounded Friday like he's had about his fill of the subject.

Asked if he' had been "worried" about what might happen to the rookie after he played so well in Game 1, Noel summed it up nicely.

"I think it's too early to tell," Noel said about the young defenceman. "I don't worry too much about Jacob right now. He's played pretty well. He's a confident guy.

"The biggest thing we have to recognize is that he's a 19-year-old player. We have to keep things in perspective. He's going to have ups and downs. This happens with all players. We've only played one game. We're talking too much about him in my opinion."

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The game notes for the Kings on Friday night mentioned that Anze Kopitar holds the team record for consecutive games, 330.

Better news for the Kings: Friday marked consecutive game No. 2 for defenceman Will Mitchell, who's back in the lineup after missing the entire lockout campaign because of concussion issues.

Mitchell played 24:28 seconds in Thursday's shootout win in Minnesota. Friday night he played 19:52 and didn't look rusty. With 721 career NHL games in 14 seasons, the 36-year-old defenceman will make the Kings back end better, if that's possible, if he's back to complete health this season.

-- -- --

Make of this what you will, but good teams will make their energy the difference when their opponents come in front out of town, having played the night before.

Friday marked the first of nine such occasions this season for the Jets, when the Kings paid a visit after playing Thursday in Minnesota.

Four of them come this month, the next Sunday night against the Ducks. Anaheim plays Saturday in Minnesota.

-- -- --

With Grant Clitsome still hurt, the Jets have at least delayed their shift of defence pairings. During training camp, there was both talk and evidence each member of the team's former No. 1 duo of Toby Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien were bound for other partners this season.

Clitsome was to draw Byfuglien, and Enstrom would move over with Zach Bogosian, but early on, it's been Enstrom and Byfuglien together still.

"It doesn't matter," Enstrom said on Friday. "I'm just sticking to my game."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 5, 2013 C11

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