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This time, Mason foils 'Eller' on penalty shot

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BOSTON -- There were no fights in Jets practice Monday, but there were some raised voices, mostly in an amusing way.

While the team practised shootouts, Alexander Burmistrov came down on veteran goalie Chris Mason and tried to duplicate the penalty-shot move that Montreal's Lars Eller used on Mason last week, a spinarama backhand deposit into the net.

Burmistrov was not successful on Monday and a few loud curses each way could be heard after the attempt.

"I had a feeling he might actually try to do that, he's so predictable," Mason laughed later. "I said, 'Good try, Lars,' when he was skating away. I know he would have given it to me if he had scored."

 

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Jets coach Claude Noel was feeling badly on Monday for fired Columbus coach Scott Arniel.

Noel, who succeeded Arniel as coach of the Manitoba Moose in 2010 when Arniel landed the job Noel had on an interim basis in Columbus, frowned when asked about the matter.

"I feel for Scott," Noel said. "I know Scott, know Columbus, that situation.

"I feel sorry for him. Tough situation there. I've been fired before so sometimes like that, it's a relief. You'd never think that because coaches never quit or think of quitting but after a while, that's a tough situation. He'll rebound. He's a good coach."

 

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There was mostly good news on the ice at TD Garden for Jets practice on Monday.

Centre Tim Stapleton and forward Alex Burmistrov were back working out with their teammates and defenceman Derek Meech, who has played all of two games and has been out since October with knee trouble, had ditched his red "warning" jersey and was back in blue, cleared for full contact.

Burmistrov missed Saturday's win in Buffalo with a "mid-level" injury. Stapleton was out that night, fighting the flu.

Noel said Monday he wasn't sure if Burmistrov would be ready for tonight's game against the Bruins.

The Jets are still missing key defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, who has now missed six games with a lower-body injury.

 

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Noel said Monday he sensed his players were refreshed by taking Sunday off after they arrived in Boston.

They'll certainly need to be fresh tonight against the Bruins (6 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN 1290), who are up to 53 points and second in the Eastern Conference.

"I think the guys got a chance to get away," Noel said. "After being at home for a month, we've gotten settled down here a bit. Today we had a good workout and we'll be ready to go.

"(Boston) is coming off their Vancouver game, which was very emotional. They've got a good team and they don't give you much."

The Jets have played reasonably well against Boston this season, losing 4-2 here on Nov. 26 but turning the tables on the Bruins in Winnipeg to the tune of 2-1 on Dec. 6.

"We're just going to need a lot of A games," Noel said. "If you're not strong on the puck... they don't give it up and they don't turn it over. You've got to battle it off them, and if you're not efficient, you're going to have a hard time."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2012 D3

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