All-star buzz for Jets’ Hutchinson

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You can forgive those that were curious about Michael Hutchinson’s plans this weekend.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/01/2015 (2759 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

You can forgive those that were curious about Michael Hutchinson’s plans this weekend.

While he was posting his second shutout of the NHL season and blanking the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 at the MTS Centre on Wednesday night, opposing starter Sergei Bobrovsky had to leave the game with an apparent injury to his left knee or leg.

Bobrovsky has been named to the league’s all-star game in his team’s own arena.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS Winnipeg Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson (34) keeps a close eye on the puck as he saves the Columbus Blue Jackets' shot off his mask.

Plans this weekend, Mr. Hutchinson?

“New York City,” Hutchinson said about his four days off for all-star break weekend.

Columbus is on the way, is it not?

“There was some talk but there’s so many good goalies in the league,” said Hutchinson, who is now 14-5-2 with a goals against average of 1.90 and save percentage of .935, among the best in the NHL. “I’m not really holding my breath on anything.

“To be mentioned is an achievement in itself.”

A mention is about as far as he’d like to see it get, Jets coach Paul Maurice said after his team surged to its fifth straight win and 60 points in the Western Conference standings.

“We love Hutchy,” Maurice said. “I’m not excited about goaltenders going to all-star games. It’s the one lousy position in that game. How can you not be just enamoured with the way he’s played. There are a lot of good goaltenders in this league. He would certainly be a guy who’s earned it.

“Given the choice, you’d like to have two goalies that deserved to go and they never got invited.”

The coach is paid to think about these things selfishly, and he’s already got his eye on the post-all-star-break schedule, with some top-end competition upcoming.

He’s hoping his players catch their collective breath this weekend, as only defenceman Dustin Byfuglien is heading to Columbus.

“They deserve a good break,” the coach said.

And going into the break with clear momentum of a winning streak?

“Now the general feel in there is that we’ve been pretty good, we’re on the right path,” Maurice said. “Now we’re all calling the same game.

“There are areas we can get better at. I don’t think anybody’s overly excited. I don’t think we’ve been lucky and I think we can get better.”

Having come through the most recent two weeks and posting 7-2-1 so far in January, with the schedule they’ve had, the Jets are certainly experiencing an increase in confidence.

“Yeah, it says we compete every night and we’ve shown some consistency throughout the season and it’s paid off for us,” said Jets winger Evander Kane, who had the 2-0 goal on Wednesday night.

“The schedule, going across the country about a hundred different times, that takes it out of you, wears you out mentally and physically,” said Jets winger Blake Wheeler, who opened the scoring against the Jackets just 68 seconds in. “This is going to be a great chance for everybody to recharge.

“I’m happy I didn’t know what that stretch was going to look like before. If I’d have known that, it would have taken a little bit out of you mentally. We just kind of went through it, got through it day-by-day and shoot, to come out of it the way we have, that definitely goes a long way. We’re thrilled with that.”

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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