Jets enter real season healthy as can be

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SIGNIFICANT members of the Winnipeg Jets squad have missed pre-season action due to minor injuries and ailments.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/10/2015 (2613 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SIGNIFICANT members of the Winnipeg Jets squad have missed pre-season action due to minor injuries and ailments.

Head coach Paul Maurice has gone so far as to label these issues as so minor he wouldn’t classify them as injuries, and continued on that line after the Jets beat the Flames 3-2 in Calgary Saturday.

Maurice said after the game his concern in the pre-season was to play it safe. All of the players in question are likely to be on the ice today at the MTS Centre when the team resumes practice.

Ruth Bonneville / Free Press files The Jets' pre-season scoring chart puts Mark Scheifele on top with three goals and five points.

The Jets open the NHL season Thursday in Boston against the Bruins.

Saturday, the Jets went without Andrew Ladd (two pre-season games), Dustin Byfuglien (three), Mark Scheifele (five) and Adam Lowry (five) when there had been consistent talk the last pre-season game or two would be with the projected regular-season team.

During Saturday’s win, forward Mathieu Perreault had to leave the game early in the third period after colliding accidentally with Calgary’s Lance Bouma mid-ice.

Perreault, who was favouring his left leg, tried one more shift after the incident, but called it a night. Perreault was seen walking about after the game and Maurice said everything looked fine.

 

***

The Jets won the final three games of their pre-season schedule, leading veteran centre Bryan Little to declare his team ready for real games.

“I think with the exception of a few guys that didn’t get a lot of action because of injuries, most guys got better as camp went on and as the games went on,” Little said after Saturday’s victory, in which he played more than 19 minutes. “I certainly felt the best I felt.

“So everyone feels comfortable now and everyone’s ready for the season to begin. One or two more games wouldn’t really do a whole lot more that we couldn’t tweak in practice.”

Little said he had minimal concern the Jets didn’t ice their full lineup much during the pre-season.

“Not really,” he said. “(Saturday) we (were) missing three or four good players. We had most guys in and the main thing is that most guys got to play a couple of games.

“It’s something we’re going to work on next week, finding combinations and getting that chemistry. We have four days of practise before our first game, so we can work things out there. I think we’ll be all right.”

 

***

The Jets’ pre-season scoring chart puts Scheifele on top with three goals and five points. Defenceman Ben Chiarot tied Scheifele with three goals, including one Saturday.

The team ended the exhibition schedule at 3-2-2, its best mark since the 2011 relocation.

Ondrej Pavelec saw the most pre-season minutes in goal (224) and came out with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

 

***

The Jets are likely to start the season with at least three rookies. Nikolaj Ehlers, Andrew Copp and Nic Petan are the favourites, with a fourth, JC Lipon, not out of the question.

The team started last season with two rookie regulars, Lowry and goalie Michael Hutchinson, and ended the season with three after Chiarot joined the team permanently in December.

To put this rookie question in perspective, no NHL team last season had more than three rookies play in at least half its games.

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Monday, October 5, 2015 7:36 AM CDT: Photo added.

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