Mikey Eyssimont: Man or myth?

Story of Moose call-up taking on new life


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The legend of Mikey Eyssimont continues to grow.

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The legend of Mikey Eyssimont continues to grow.

An early cut in training camp, the 26-year-old keeps finding a way to make an impact with the Winnipeg Jets since being called up from the Manitoba Moose last month following a string of injuries. While he didn’t hit the scoresheet on Sunday — his 10th straight NHL game and 11th of his career — he certainly provided a big spark in the 5-2 comeback victory over Anaheim.

A frustrated coach Rick Bowness, staring at a 2-0 deficit against the NHL’s worst team, moved the energetic Eyssimont up into the top six to skate with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor. Veteran Sam Gagner, who had started on that line but just doesn’t have the wheels to keep up, was bumped down the lineup.

It wasn’t long before the game was tied, with Eyssimont providing a terrific screen for Dylan Samberg’s first NHL goal.

“It’s a good feeling. Just have to keep paying my dues and do the right things every day, every game to get rewarded a little bit,” said Eyssimont, who created all kinds of related chaos including a huge hit on Ducks defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk.

“I think we all knew as a collective group that we had to get going and wake ourselves up. I tried to come up with a spark off the start, and do that every game and every shift. That’s all I focus on.”

Samberg said Eyssimont is the kind of player that can pull a team into battle given the way he plays.

“He has a lot of energy, which is helpful. He’s always passionate for the game. Nobody outworks him,” said Samberg. “You always see him coming out of puck battles in the corner with guys that are twice his size, coming out with the puck. He’s always battling, so it’s good to have him.”

The Colorado native has jumped over numerous teammates on the Jets depth chart in recent weeks. Gagner, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Dominic Toninato and Jansen Harkins have all had games in the press box as healthy scratches while he stays in the lineup. There’s a little bit of Brandon Tanev and a little bit of Mathieu Perreault to his game.

“Listen, you love what he brings. I just talked about emotion and talked about passion and he brings it every shift. We needed it (today),” said Bowness.

“You give him full marks. For a guy I knew nothing about going into training camp, he had a good training camp. He impressed us there. He played with the Moose for a while and we brought him up and man, he’s given us that energy that we need. You’ve got to love what he brings. I love what Mikey brings to the table every shift, every game. He’s ready to go. I said to him on the bench at the end of the game, ‘Mike, I can trust you, right?’ ‘Yeah coach, you can.’ I love that.”

Barron is now back from injury, while Ehlers and Appleton are still a ways off. However, Eyssimont won’t be going anywhere if he keeps this up.

“I played with him a little bit at the end of last year with the Moose. He’s a fun guy to play with. He’s super passionate, works really hard,” said Barron.

“He’s one of those players who, in puck battles, it always seems like he’s getting through other guys’ sticks, winning battles. You know he can play up and down the lineup. He’s been super effective for us playing on the third and fourth line but I thought he was great with those guys up top (Sunday), creating a lot of chances, and just kind of created havoc. It seems to follow him around out there so that’s a good quality to have.

Eyssimont insisted he’s going to keep playing the same way no matter where his coach wants to play him.

“Obviously different personnel means different things. And you have to support the guys and help them do what they do best on each line. So it’s important to communicate on the bench and in the locker room between periods and kind of know what to expect from each other,” he said.


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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