Pionk sidelined with concussion, suspension


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The Winnipeg Jets lost Neal Pionk to a concussion Sunday and a suspension Monday, and then lost Riley Nash to the waiver wire Tuesday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/12/2021 (248 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg Jets lost Neal Pionk to a concussion Sunday and a suspension Monday, and then lost Riley Nash to the waiver wire Tuesday.

Pionk’s diagnosis was confirmed by head coach Paul Maurice, who said the right-shot blue-liner won’t make the trip to Seattle and Vancouver later this week.

Nash was picked up by the Tampa Bay Lightning, his sixth NHL team. The 11-year veteran had no points in limited minutes through 15 games with Winnipeg.

Alex Gallardo / The Associated Press files Jets defenceman Neal Pionk is out with a concussion and a suspension.

Pionk was injured in the third period of Sunday’s game when Toronto Maple Leafs centre Jason Spezza’s knee caught him in the head as he was falling. Earlier in the period, Pionk clipped Rasmus Sandin with a knee.

Neither play resulted in a penalty, however, Pionk was slapped with a two-games suspension a day later by the NHL’s department of safety, while Spezza was suspended for six games by the NHL Tuesday night.

The Jets were expected to promote a player from the Manitoba Moose prior to leaving Wednesday for the West Coast.

Nathan Beaulieu skated at Tuesday’s practice with Dylan DeMelo on the third pairing, left-shooting Logan Stanley moved up to play the right side with Brenden Dillon, and Josh Morrissey and Nate Schmidt stayed together.

Maurice said he has no reservations giving the towering defenceman an expanded role.

“It’s his first opportunity to play bigger minutes, but it absolutely won’t be his last. His game this year has been really good. Solid and improving all of the time,” he said. “He’s going to take some time to develop into a top-4, but he’s going to get there and he’s going to stay there.”


Winnipeg product Seth Jarvis shelled out a big chunk of change to ensure all the important people in his life were at the rink Tuesday night.

“I had to buy 22, that was the final number (of tickets),” said the Hurricanes winger, after the morning skate. “The 22 are more for family and old coaches, and my buddies bought their own tickets. So, it’s gonna be really nice. Hopefully, I see a lot of friendly faces in the stands.”

Jarvis won’t celebrate his 20th birthday until Feb. 1, yet he’s making a name for himself as a top-nine forward, accumulating four goals and nine points in 16 contests.

Talk about a major upswing from a year ago when he was cut from Canada’s world junior squad.

“That was a tough time for me, a real low point in my hockey career,” Jarvis said. “But that’s been the fuel I needed to get me to this point. Every game, that’s what I kind of reminisce on, that feeling, and I wanna make sure I don’t have to go through those emotions again.”

He ripped 58 goals with the Portland Winterhawks during his draft year, but now has the Western Hockey League in his rear-view mirror, and is savouring every unique moment in the NHL.

“There’s a ton (of highlights). Obviously, your first goal is gonna always stick out,” he said. The memorable tally came Nov. 3 at 12:50 of the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks when he went in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury, deftly sliding the puck behind the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.

Jarvis is renting space in teammate Sebastian Aho’s home in Raleigh, N.C., helping the Finn set up a Christmas tree just last week. Indeed, the teen is fitting in nicely with the surging Metropolitan Division squad.

“From what I’ve seen, I’ve liked. Especially early, he wasn’t backing down,” said ‘Canes head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “If there was a play to be made, he was making it. He’s not afraid to get to the net. It looks like he’s played for a lot of years. That’s the reason why we kept him around… he’s earned that job.”


Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).


Updated on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 8:10 PM CST: Adds Spezza suspension

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