Armia draws back into lineup following upper-body injury
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/05/2018 (1849 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Joel Armia’s improved health allowed Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice to make one adjustment to his lineup Thursday.
The Jets right-winger, out since the final game of Round 1, returned to active duty and played fourth-line minutes with centre Andrew Copp and left-winger Matt Hendricks.
“It’s been tough to watch the games. You get so nervous watching the games, because you can’t do anything. I like what the team has been doing, playing great hockey, so it’s good,” Armia said, following Thursday’s morning skate at Bell MTS Place. “Everybody wants to play, and it’s tough when you’re not. I’m really excited to get back in.
“Just to play my game, work hard and be good on the (penalty kill)… that’s my main focus.”
Rookie forward Jack Roslovic joined forwards Mathieu Perreault, Marko Dano and Shawn Matthias, and defencemen Tucker Poolman and Dmitry Kulikov in the pressbox.
Maurice has been consistent with his use of Armia, preferring him on the right side. Hendricks was dressed because he’s a left shooter, while Roslovic, a rightie, hasn’t played the off-wing all year.
Meanwhile, Perreault (shoulder) had indicated Wednesday he was ready, willing and able to join in the fight against the Predators, but Maurice had other ideas. The veteran forward and Kulikov (back) are close to returning, while Dano, Matthias and Poolman were healthy scratches.
Armia finished the regular season with 12 goals and 29 points in 79 games.
Maurice said his wise defensive reads, active stick and potential for some offence makes him a valued contributor.
“What he does well when he’s in the lineup is he plays a defensive game with some offensive skill. So, his positioning has always been very good and I’ve always thought Joel had a real good defensive stick. But he’s got a wrist shot, and he’s got an ability to move the puck around,” he said. “There’s some high-end goals that he scores.
“He has that offensive ability, doesn’t have to cheat for it. He probably doesn’t look for it as much as we’d like him to. I think there’s more there to his game. But, I think we can always rely on real smart positioning.”
Armia’s lone goal of playoffs — the only post-season goal of his career — came on a wrist shot, of sorts.
A rising point shot from Dustin Byfuglien glanced off his wrist and bounced behind Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk, the fourth-straight goal by the Jets in the first period of the decisive Game 5 against the Wild.
Armia didn’t return following the second intermission, and missed the first three games of the series with the Predators with an upper-body injury.
The 24-year-old from Pori, Finland told reporters it wasn’t the drive from Byfuglien that forced him out, but wouldn’t divulge the nature of the injury.
● ● ●
Dislike P.K. Subban, if you must, for his on-ice antics, but respect and admire him for his off-ice contributions.
On Wednesday, the NHL announced the Nashville Predators star defenceman, along with recently retired Vancouver Canucks icons, twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker are the nominees for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.
It’s given annually “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice, and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
“It means a lot. Generally, with hockey players, we don’t usually talk about individual awards and nominations a lot. But this one is a little different and very special. I’m with great company with Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who have been in the league for a long time and have done a lot in their communities. To be honoured with guys like that and Zucker in Minnesota — he and his wife have done some great work — is very, very exciting,” Subban said, following the Predators’ morning skate Thursday.
Subban has made financial donations and spent countless hours working with children’s hospitals in Montreal and Nashville, and he introduced a new program for the 2017-18 season, P.K.’s Blueline Buddies. At every Predators home game, he hosts a member of the Metro Nashville Police Department and their guest, with a mentor or representative from a local organization and an underprivileged youth.
“I’m honoured to be among those guys, and there are some great hockey players who have been up for that award,” Subban said. “All I can do is thank the Montreal Canadiens, when I was there, giving me an opportunity to do things in the community, and also Nashville.”
The 2018 NHL Awards will be held Wednesday, June 20, in Las Vegas.
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).
Updated on Friday, May 4, 2018 7:24 AM CDT: Photo added