Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/4/2015 (2367 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The hockey season still has some life left in it for three members of the Winnipeg Jets.
Goaltenders Ondrej Pavelec (Czech Republic) and Connor Hellebuyck (United States) are off to the world championship, which runs May 1 to 17 in Prague and Ostrava in the Czech Republic. In addition, Jets head athletic therapist Rob Milette will join Canada’s staff at the event.
Pavelec will be the only NHLer of the three netminders the Czechs have named to their roster, while Hellebuyck, who was added to the American roster last year after his college season, will make his second trip to the Worlds.
Two other Jets Czechs — Michael Frolik and Jiri Tlusty — wouldn’t commit because they are impending unrestricted free agents without the security of an NHL contract.
"I will talk to them now and we are back-and-forth, but I don’t have a contract, so it’s a little bit risky for me to go," said Frolik. "It’s the same as last year, when I didn’t go. I won’t take the risk, so I’m probably not going."
Blake Wheeler, who suited up for the U.S. at the Olympics, also said he wouldn’t be joining the American side.
"I don’t think so. It’s time for me to be a dad again," said Wheeler with a smile. "My real season starts now."
THE DYNAMIC DANE: The Jets parachuted Nik Ehlers in for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs after his junior season ended with the Halifax Mooseheads. And one of the key questions that will carry through the summer to training camp next fall is this: Can the 19-year-old left-winger crack the NHL roster next year and, if he doesn’t, will he benefit with another year in the QMJHL?
"I think the chances are pretty good (he could make the big club), but obviously I just want to go out there and do my best, have a good summer and start workouts and be prepared," said Ehlers on Friday. "Obviously I want to play here next year, that’s my goal. That’s what I’m going to be working for. I’m going to take my time this summer to focus on working out and doing my thing to be able to make the team here. Right now I’m not focusing on junior, I’m focusing on making the team here next year."
Ehlers, who said there was a chance he could be joining the Danish national team at the worlds next month, will concentrate on getting stronger and packing on pounds this off-season. He’ll return to Europe, first to Switzerland then to Denmark to work out with a trainer there. Then he’ll return to practise with the team his dad, Heinz, coaches, HC Lausanne.
"I’ll try to eat more. Try to work out harder and try to put on some muscle and take it from there," Ehlers said. "It was tough this year. I played a lot on the Mooseheads and during the season it was tough for me to put on weight. But I’ve got months now where I can really just focus on working out and putting on some weight."
QUOTABLE: "We made a lot of good strides this year for sure. Paul (Maurice) was a big part of that, in kind of changing the culture of this team. From Day 1 to where we are now, it’s a different mindset, a different attitude. We grew pretty close as a team and we’re going to need that moving forward. This team is only going up." — Jacob Trouba.