Move brings back memories for Perreault


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THE musical chairs with Winnipeg Jets forwards was all the talk at Saturday's practice at the MTS Centre.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2014 (3084 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE musical chairs with Winnipeg Jets forwards was all the talk at Saturday’s practice at the MTS Centre.

Mathieu Perreault, who’s moving to left wing tonight with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, can only remember a few games in his first pro year with the AHL Hershey Bears at that spot.

“I’ve been a centre most of my life,” Perreault said Saturday.

He said he’s eager to try something different tonight.

“I feel like once you know how to play centre, you can definitely play wing,” he said. “It’s much easier. Less responsibility defensively and I might be able to save a little more energy in the D zone as a winger.”

Coach Paul Maurice, the man rearranging the chairs, didn’t sound too worried about the risk with Perreault.

“Probably a bigger adjustment for Mathieu but at the same time it is easier to go to the wing than it is to come to the middle of the ice,” the coach said. “It’s a function of the Lowry position change and trying to find places we can use his skill set and assets.

“He’s going to play with a couple of guys with quite a bit of speed and ability to push the puck up the ice and we’re confident that he can make some plays down low. He needs people that can hold onto the puck a little bit and generate some of that offensive-zone time and when he gets there he can make those plays.”

— — —

Another change sees Dustin Byfuglien go back to play with centre Bryan Little and left-winger Andrew Ladd, linemates he’s had before.

Asked about his goals for tonight’s game in that spot, Byfuglien said: “Just keep it simple. Make Bryan crack a smile. Andrew, we might have to shave his head or something. Just got to have fun. We have to stick with each other… sooner or later it’s going to happen.”

Ladd also wasn’t afraid to keep it a little on the light side.

“It makes our line a little louder for sure, brings the personality up,” he cracked. “I think for the most part he’s a guy that can make plays and push D back. When he has the puck in the corner, you’re not worried about him losing it. You can kind of give him more space and get open, to open ice and just try to find lost space and get open.

“We know by now what his game is. It’s a big-body presence that can really have a big effect, especially in their end down low, wearing teams down and getting to the net, stuff like that. Hopefully we can find some chemistry quick here and still respect the other side of the puck, too.”

— — —

The Saturday discussion on how the Jets might go about getting up to speed on offence brought a reminder about their big-picture defensive goals from Byfuglien.

“Just keep playing defence,” Byfuglien said, tackling the offensive question. “You can’t think about it… but everyone’s thinking about it. There’s nothing you can do. You just keep battling, working, It’ll come.

— — —

If you suspected it, you’d be right. In their previous three seasons, the new-era Winnipeg Jets have not had a weaker offensive start to the NHL season.

With seven goals in their first four games, the Jets have matched their anemic output of Year 1 after relocation. In that span, also going 1-3, Winnipeg tallied just seven times in four games.

— Campbell

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