Line blender set to high

With Lowry out, Copp gets another chance to 'build some chemistry'

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/01/2020 (943 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp will replace injured Adam Lowry as the centre for the team’s third line.

RALEIGH — Winnipeg’s Swiss Army knife — also known as forward Andrew Copp — is coming out of coach Paul Maurice’s pocket once again.

An injury to shutdown centre Adam Lowry has forced the Winnipeg Jets bench boss to juggle his lineup once again. And that means more changes for Copp, who has pretty much taken a tour through the entire lineup lately.

“I think I’ve had frickin’ seven different linemates in the last four games. It’s just the way it goes. You feel like you’re starting to build some chemistry and then you move on and try to build chemistry again,” Copp said Monday following his team’s practice at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Lowry suffered an apparent shoulder or arm injury after taking an unexpected hit from Drake Caggiula in Sunday’s 5-2 loss in Chicago. Caggiula was given an interference minor on the play. Lowry’s left arm was in a sling following the game.

John Woods / The Canadian Press files
Injured Winnipeg Jets centre Adam Lowry will be assessed today after being knocked out of Sunday’s game in Chicago.

“We still gotta get the final testing, he’ll get looked at back home. It’s not short term. It’ll be a month before we’re talking about his re-entry,” Maurice said of Lowry, a key part of the penalty kill and physical force who has four goals and six assists this season.

Copp, who played in Sunday’s game on a line with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers, will now move to centre in an attempt to cover for Lowry. He’s expected to skate on a line with Mathieu Perreault and Mason Appleton in Tuesday’s game against Carolina, after also taking a twirl with Lowry, Jack Roslovic and Blake Wheeler in recent games.

“We’ve got to get that hole filled. So Andrew Copp is the most viable player to go into that hole, and then we’ll build some things around him,” said Maurice.

“That line of Perreault, Copp and (Jack) Roslovic was a really good line for us. They were really really effective. We may get to that but then we would need somebody else to come up and play in that top six role. We’ll take a look at that. But Andrew, one thing he’s going to be able to do is give you a good defensive presence. He’s good on faceoffs, he’s got his D-zone coverage down.”

For now, the top six will include some combination of Wheeler, Scheifele, Ehlers, Roslovic, Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine. But the option to move Roslovic back down now exists after the Jets summoned 2017 first-rounder Kristian Vesalainen from the Manitoba Moose on Monday.

The Finnish-born winger has nine goals and 22 points with the Moose this year. Last season, he had one point in five games with the Jets, splitting most of his time between the KHL and the AHL.

Nick Shore, Jansen Harkins and Gabriel Bourque are the other forwards with the Jets and the likely fourth line, at least for the time being.

“It’s kind of been the calling card for me so far, just my versatility and moving up and down the lineup. Hopefully me Appleton and Perreault can have some success. It should be a line that plays in the O-zone a lot and gets chances and converts those chances. I feel like we can be a pretty solid third line,” said Copp, who has seven goals and nine assists this season.

“It’s not like I’m playing with totally new guys. There’s some familiarity there and going back to the middle is comfortable, no issues there. It should be fun.”

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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Updated on Monday, January 20, 2020 9:00 PM CST: Adds photo

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