Teammates appreciate Tanev’s efforts on PK

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/11/2017 (1839 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That could apply both literally and figuratively these days to Brandon Tanev, who continues to play a prominent role in the Winnipeg Jets lineup thanks largely to his willingness to sacrifice his body on a nightly basis.

Need proof? Just look at a penalty kill during the third period of Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, with his team trailing 2-1 and desperate not to give up another goal. Tanev came up with a huge shot block that sent him limping to the bench, then came back out less than 30 seconds later and took another blast to the body.

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press Brandon Tanev continues to play a prominent role in the Winnipeg Jets lineup thanks largely to his willingness to sacrifice his body on a nightly basis.

The fans at Bell MTS Place erupted, and the successful penalty kill certainly gave the Jets a boost as they tied the game in the final minute, then won in a shootout.

“It obviously hurts a little bit, but it’s a job you gotta do playing the penalty kill. You got to get in shooting lanes and block shots — that’s something your team counts on you to go out there and do,” Tanev said Friday following practice. His 19 shot blocks this season are by far the most among Winnipeg forwards.

Tanev said head coach Paul Maurice asked him on the bench after the first block if he was OK to return to action.

“I was all right, a little bump and bruise, just go out there and do your job,” Tanev said. “You got a lot of adrenalin going. If it’s not broken, you try to get yourself back out there and try to get yourself in the same position to get yourself a shot block.”

Tanev admitted there are games like that where he’s afraid to take his skate off at the end of the night for fear of what he might see. Fortunately, it was nothing a few ice bags couldn’t fix this time.

“It’s a pretty scary job when you’re 15 to 20 feet off the guy and a 95- to 100-mile-an-hour slapshot is coming at you. It takes a lot of guts,” Adam Lowry said of his teammate. “It gives you a boost of confidence when your teammates are going out there and sacrificing themselves. You want to go out there and do it yourself. It has a snowball effect. It really creates that team atmosphere.”

Lowry has formed an effective checking line with Tanev and Andrew Copp that is giving other teams fits as of late.

“You know what, they’re working their butts off and they’re becoming very difficult to play against. They’re not trading chances with you, they’re on the puck, they’re above the puck. They make it difficult for you to move the puck from one end to the other,” Maurice said. “Adam Lowry, since he’s been back from his injury, has a little bite to his game, some physicality. Brandon looks faster, if that’s possible, than he was last year. He’s getting more comfortable in his routes and his roles. And Andrew, from his time playing centre, has gone to the wing and he understands the game very well. When you boil it down to the simplest thing, they’re working really, really hard. And you usually have a good game if you do that.”

● ● ●

The hockey world was still buzzing Friday about the vicious lumberjack chop Flyers defenceman Radko Gudas delivered to the neck of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault on Thursday night.

Gudas and Perreault were given coincidental minor penalties on the play in the initial call, but the referees eventually changed it to a five-minute slashing major and game misconduct to Gudas after consultation with the linesmen.

The NHL’s player safety department offered Gudas the opportunity for an in-person disciplinary hearing, which would have given them the ability to suspend Gudas for more than than five games. The league announced Friday night that Gudas has waived the in-person hearing and will have a phone hearing Sunday.

Perreault escaped injury, saying Gudas caught him on the “meaty” part of his neck.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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