Patrik Laine could be in lineup tonight


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Patrik Laine's wounded left foot has improved rapidly and the Winnipeg Jets sniper hopes to play tonight when they host the Anaheim Ducks at Bell MTS Place.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/03/2018 (1893 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Patrik Laine’s wounded left foot has improved rapidly and the Winnipeg Jets sniper hopes to play tonight when they host the Anaheim Ducks at Bell MTS Place.

The 19-year-old right-winger, currently second in the NHL with 43 goals, surprised observers when he skated without any obvious signs of discomfort during Winnipeg’s morning skate. The original suggestion was Laine’s injury made him doubtful for tonight’s game against Anaheim and Sunday’s game against the visiting Nashville Predators

“It’s hard to say,” said Laine. “Because there’s a lot of hours before the puck drops but we still have to talk with the docs and the coach, but I guess we’ll see tonight.”

Patrik Laine surprised observers when he skated without any obvious signs of discomfort during Winnipeg's morning skate. (Boris Minkevich / Free Press files)

Laine left during the second period of Tuesday’s game against Los Angeles after absorbing a hard shot off the back of his left foot from Kings defenceman Alex Martinez.

“If it’s hurting before the game it’s not smart to play,” said Laine. “I mean, if it feels good and it’s not hurting then we’re going to talk with the coach (about) what he thinks and what’s smart, but I don’t know now.”

Jets head coach Paul Maurice said a three-item checklist will impact Laine’s playing status: a doctor’s assurance Laine’s condition won’t regress, his fitness and Laine’s confidence.

“Oh, he wants to play,” said Maurice. “We’ll give him the afternoon to make sure it continues to go in the direction it’s going. He was pretty direct with me about his ability to play tonight.”

Maurice went on to explain how Laine pleaded his case for returning:

“The swelling is way down after day one, and then we’ve got to wait for the next day,” said Maurice. “So before I come out and say, ‘Hey boys, the swelling is way down, get the prayer vigil going, it’s going to be OK,’ and then you come back the next day and the swelling’s back, so you just don’t say anything.

“The next day he came in, it was marginally better. And he’s saying I’m feeling pretty good. And the next day he says, ‘I’m feeling really, really good. I think I might be all right.’ And I say, ‘Well, we’ll see tomorrow, ’cause you never know.’

“He goes out at 9 a.m. (today), skates for two minutes and says, ‘I can play tonight.’ I say, ‘Fine, but you’re taking our morning skate…’ So he goes back out there, skates faster than he has all year so everybody knows that he can play. And then he skates off the ice, walks into my office and says, ‘I can play.’ That’s how it went. And I said, ‘Fine. You prepare like you’re gonna play. We’re gonna give it the afternoon and make sure nothing changes.'”

Originally, Laine was concerned about the injury but was relieved when he was assured it was not serious.

“Yeah, it was hurting a lot and I’ve never had problems with my ankles so I have no idea how it feels when it breaks or is serious. I mean, it was hurting a lot so there’s a lot of things going through your head,” he said.

Will it alter his approach to blocking shots?

“No, it’s your duty as a player,” said Laine, admitting he will wear additional shot-blocker protection on his skates when he returns to game action.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re playing on the first line or fourth line, you’ve gotta block a shot if you have a chance. Sometimes it’s gonna hurt, but it doesn’t matter. It’s one for the team.”

Laine was also asked if he would consider taking a pain-killing injection in order to play.

“No, not at this point. There’s still a lot of time before playoffs. I don’t want to risk anything now,” he said.

Laine added his race for the NHL’s goal-scoring title will not factor into his decision to return. He trails front-runner Alex Ovechkin by one goal.

“If I’m playing, that’s not the reason I’m playing, cause I’m going to play if I can, but that has nothing to do with my decision. I don’t just want to go out and play if I’m not 100 per cent and then get hurt again because of that. I’m gonna play when I’m ready.”

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.


Updated on Friday, March 23, 2018 3:28 PM CDT: Typo fixed.

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