Jets’ Brossoit wants to be more than a backup

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BOSTON — Thrown to the wolves? A sacrificial lamb? Call it what you want, but the job of an NHL backup goalie is not exactly the most glamorous. You can go weeks between games, and when you do finally get the crease it’s against a powerhouse bunch of Bruins looking to maul you.

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This article was published 09/01/2020 (997 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

BOSTON — Thrown to the wolves? A sacrificial lamb? Call it what you want, but the job of an NHL backup goalie is not exactly the most glamorous. You can go weeks between games, and when you do finally get the crease it’s against a powerhouse bunch of Bruins looking to maul you.

Such was the case Thursday night in Boston, as Laurent Brossoit got just his 10th start of the year (and first since Dec. 23) as the road-weary Winnipeg Jets played their 45th game of the season to close out a four-game trip, the second half of a back-to-back against one of the league’s best teams.

It went about as you’d expect, with Brossoit peppered with 36 shots and beaten five times on the night.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / The associated press files Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit has a 3.50 goals-against-average and .889 save-percentage.

Brossoit’s numbers don’t exactly suggest he’s pushing Jets head coach Paul Maurice to find him more work. Brossoit entered the night with a 3.50 goals-against-average and .889 save-percentage, which is less than ideal for a guy on record as saying he believes he can be one of the best goaltenders in the NHL if only given the chance to prove it.

“Obviously, statistically it’s not where you’d want it to be. But been doing a lot of good things. A couple games have been learning games but other than that I can’t focus so much on stats. I know there’s a lot of good that I’m doing and I’m just going to focus on that,” Brossoit said in a chat prior to the game.

“As a goalie, you learn not to get hung up on that. It’s more about what you’re seeing in front of you, the mistakes you make and what you learn from those mistakes. And continuing to improve. Every single shot, every single game is different. You just have to do what you have to do.”

There’s extra pressure, considering Brossoit is also playing for his next contract. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent hoping for something bigger and better than the one-year, US $1.225-million deal he signed to return to the Jets for a second season.

“It’s the nature of the business. If you want to earn your opportunities, earn more opportunities, then you have to deal with the circumstances and still perform and learn how to cope with that. It doesn’t really bother me. I just want to win every game,” said Brossoit.

“I’m the first person to admit my mistakes. I don’t think any game, even if it’s a top-quality performance, you can always get better from it.”

Brossoit said he isn’t putting extra pressure on himself, but realizes he may have to wait a bit for his next start. With the Jets in a heated battle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, Connor Hellebuyck (20-12-4, 2.69 GAA, .919 SP) will continue to get a heavy workload.

“That just comes along with experience, I’ve had enough experience as a backup now. Learning that patience to get into the net and not getting too frustrated when you go long periods without getting in the net. It was something that was hard to deal with at first, but you learn to deal with it,” said Brossoit.

ROSTER MOVES — the Jets made a trio of roster moves Thursday. Defenceman Dmitry Kulikov was activated off injured reserve and returned to the lineup after missing 18 games with an upper-body injury. He bumped Sami Niku to the press box and skated with Anthony Bitetto on the third pair against the Bruins. Carl Dahlstrom was the other defenceman scratched.

To make room on the 23-man roster, forward Logan Shaw has been placed on waivers. He will report to the Manitoba Moose if no other NHL club claims him by this morning. Shaw has two goals and one assist in 25 games for the Jets this season. Winnipeg is now carrying 13 forwards, with Jansen Harkins being the scratch Thursday.

The Jets have also sent rookie David Gustafsson to the Moose. The 19-year-old, who just helped Sweden capture a bronze medal at the world junior championship, had been loaned out by Winnipeg after skating in 22 games, in which he scored his first NHL goal.

He will stay in the city with the AHL club, where he will get a chance to play a big role while also providing depth for the Jets if needed.

“He’s healed up (from a minor injury suffered in the bronze-medal game), he’s excited. It’s good for him, good for us,” said Maurice. “I just think (Moose head coach) Pascal Vincent does such a wonderful job with those young players and getting them ready to play the game that we play. When we bring these kids up, they’re not behind systematically. We’re excited that he’s willing to stay and we’re going to have him.”

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Laurent Brossoit is a pending unrestricted free agent with a one-year, US $1.225-million contract with the Jets this season.

 

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @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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