Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Thorburn comes close but still can't buy a goal

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NEW YORK -- Winnipeg Jets right-winger Chris Thorburn is still looking for his first goal of the season and it's driving him crazy.

Thorburn had Grade A chances in games both Monday and Tuesday. Against the Rangers, he was foiled at the far post by the fast toe of goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

"It's beyond frustration," Thorburn said. "My linemates are teeing me up and I just can't find the back of the net. We're getting the chances, we're working hard for them but at the same time, we need production because we can't rely on our top forwards to score all the time.

"I definitely take it upon myself and I have over the last couple of months that I've got to step it up, chip in once in a while."

Thorburn did chip in with high-end physical play on Tuesday, including two scraps with Rangers tough guy Mike Rupp. Thorburn won both ends of it, knocking Rupp down both times.

"I thought Chris has played three good games for us (in a row)," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "He's battled hard. He got in a couple of scraps. He did what he can do. He's trying to help out. That line was physical."

Swan song for Hnidy

NEEPAWA'S Shane Hnidy hung up his skates last summer but today he knows his NHL playing career is really over.

The 36-year-old defenceman's final big-league year came with the Boston Bruins and finished with a Stanley Cup and the final reward for that came Monday when the Bruins with Hnidy in tow visited the White House and U.S. President Bararck Obama.

"He's a great guy," said Hnidy, now the colour analyst on Jets radio broadcasts on TSN 1290. "It was a pleasure standing there with the most powerful man in the world. It was a life experience I won't get again. Not that many people can get into the White House.

"There are three things that go with the Cup, your day with the Cup, your ring and the White House. Now I've got the trifecta done, it's time to move on."

Hnidy squeezed 550 NHL regular-season games into hard-working, 15-year pro career. Monday's reward went by like a blur.

"We stood around and waited for the President for a while," Hnidy said of the two-hour visit to the White House.. "He's a busy man, I think. He eventually came in, we lined up and he shook our hands and welcomed us and congratulated us and we filed into the media room where everybody got to see us stand there behind him to give his speech."

Gagnon debuts with Jets

THE Jets recalled centre Aaron Gagnon on Tuesday to take the place of forward Alexander Burmistrov.

Burmistrov was checked heavily into the boards by Carolina's Justin Faulk late in Monday's loss to the Hurricanes and was held out Tuesday. He will be examined by Jets medical staff back in Winnipeg.

To make room for Gagnon on the roster, the Jets opted to put left-winger Evander Kane on the injured-reserve list. He must stay on that list for seven days, but given that he has a concussion, that's not likely to be an issue.

Gagnon didn't look out of place Tuesday, playing 12 shifts and 8 minutes 38 seconds.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2012 D2

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