Roslovic’s time to shine with Jets has arrived
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/01/2018 (1962 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jack Roslovic admits he’s still waiting for his first big “wow” moment to come on a National Hockey League rink. He may be closer than ever to reaching that pinnacle thanks to an intriguing lineup change by Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.
Roslovic will skate on his team’s top line tonight as the Winnipeg Jets (29-13-7) take on the Anaheim Ducks (23-17-9) and try to go into the all-star break with a fourth-straight win. With Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine at his side, Roslovic is certainly being given every opportunity to shine.
“You know, I try to judge my games off of chances for versus chances against. It’s a big part of the game. The chances are coming, and that’s a good thing. But I wanna get one here soon,” Roslovic said following Wednesday’s practice at Honda Center.
Although the 20-year-old rookie has yet to register a point in seven NHL games this season, he’s had plenty of good looks in recent games. Roslovic was bumped up during Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime victory in San Jose, and the new-look trio will remain intact at least for now.
“You learn a lot from those guys. You just gotta keep your game simple, to be honest. With Wheels and Patty there, it’s going to be a good game,” said Roslovic. “We’re going to go up against their top line. So just battle, keep it simple and don’t try to force plays. You don’t want to force plays to look like a hero. Just do the right thing.”
Of course, his promotion means good friend Kyle Connor took the elevator all the way down to the fourth line to play with Matt Hendricks and Marko Dano. Connor has points in just two of his past nine games (two goals, two assists), and just one helper over his past five contests. And he’s also made a handful of potentially costly mistakes in terms of giveaways, positioning and coverage.
“Coach’s decision. I just play wherever I play,” Connor, 21, said Wednesday when asked about the move.
With 15 goals and 14 assists this season, Connor is still very much a big part of the team. But Maurice said he felt a switch between the young wingers was necessary, especially with some things he saw in the game against the Sharks.
“I think that line with Kyle and Patty (and Wheeler), it stopped moving particularly well. I think Jack’s done some really good things with his speed, and when he went there they started to get some offensive-zone time, which they’d kinda gotten away from. Like they’d run a bunch of games where they didn’t really spend very much time in the offensive zone,” said Maurice.
That’s not to say Roslovic was a perfect fit, as Maurice said there is still plenty of room for improvement and nothing is set in stone.
“I thought, for the most part, and there were some instances you can tell me I’m wrong, the stuff Jack was doing well to get pucks out, and there’s some areas he can get better at that, you’re able to apply that in the offensive zone as well to keep pucks in,” said Maurice.
Connor somewhat bristled at the notion his play had dipped.
“It’s fine, I’m playing good,” was his brief response. He said he’ll keep bringing speed and energy to whatever line he’s playing on.
Maurice said managing emotions, especially with young players, is an important part of his job.
“You spend a lot of time on video, making sure that they keep their confidence. At the same time, they gotta get thrown into the deep end a little bit, too, in terms of fighting for their own,” he said.
Maurice said players could learn a lot from watching what goalie Connor Hellebuyck went through last season, and how it’s helped shape the player who has been so successful this year.
“So Kyle will try to get back to the game that he did play, probably from the time we called him up to just before Christmas. Sometimes you gotta find your own way a little bit,” said Maurice.
Roslovic was certainly finding his way with the Manitoba Moose, leading the farm team in scoring this season and among the leaders in the American Hockey League. He admits to still feeling a bit star struck every time he hits the ice these days.
“You grew up watching a lot of these guys. So going out there and being on the same ice is really fun. But on the same hand, you’re out there on the same ice as them, so you gotta battle them every night,” Roslovic said.
With first-line status, along with playing on the top power-play unit, he’s looking to begin making an impact at the next level.
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.