Record: 52 – 20 – 10
WASHINGTON — Is there a doctor in the house?
It’s been a common refrain for the Winnipeg Jets lately, as they just can’t seem to get close to a full, healthy lineup.
Seven players were out due to injury in Saturday’s 2-1 loss in Philadelphia. Here’s what we know about all of them, with further updates expected today as the Jets return to action with a morning skate and then their game in Washington against the Capitals.
Mark Scheifele has missed two games with a suspected shoulder injury, and there will be no rushing him back into action.
He’s considered day-to-day at this point, and coach Paul Maurice had said last week he was a possibility to play either tonight, or tomorrow in Nashville. But don’t bet on it.
Defenceman Toby Enstrom is battling a lower-body issue which kept him out for four games, saw him return in New Jersey last Thursday and then be back out on Saturday. Maurice said it’s a nagging thing that can change day-to-day, so his status is very much a question mark.
Defenceman Dmitry Kulikov missed Saturday’s game after getting hurt Thursday in New Jersey. Maurice hasn’t said how long he could be out, only that it’s upper-body.
Goalie Steve Mason has been sent back to Winnipeg for further testing on a lower-body injury he suffered late in the game against the New York Rangers last Tuesday, which was his first game back from his second concussion of the season.
His return date is a mystery.
Defenceman Jacob Trouba could be back in the lineup as early as Thursday when the Jets host Chicago.
He’s been out since late January with an ankle injury but has had a few full-contact practices as he nears a return.
Centre Adam Lowry, out with an upper-body injury once again, is also skating but in a non-contact jersey. Maurice was originally hopeful he could be back by early March, but that obviously hasn’t happened.
The most recent update is that he could be shortly after Trouba.
And finally, forward Shawn Matthias is very close to returning from an upper-body injury.
However, whether he draws into the lineup remains to be seen.
He’s very much just a depth option at this point.
With a few other players also banged up and battling a bug going through the dressing room, it’s not a surprise that Sunday’s scheduled practice in Washington was cancelled by Maurice.
East Coast travel more relaxing
It’s a rare luxury for Western Conference teams, but the Winnipeg Jets have certainly been reminded over the past 10 days how East Coast travel in the NHL is much less taxing.
Take this current six-game road trip. After starting it off in Raleigh, the Jets took a short flight to New York, where they essentially set up shop for four days.
They bused from their hotel to games in New York and New Jersey, then took another bus for the 100-minute ride to Philadelphia.
A quick flight following Saturday’s matinee against the Flyers had them in Washington by mid-evening.
So they should be well rested by tonight’s game against the Capitals.
Things get a bit busier as they have to fly to Nashville following tonight’s game to get ready to face the Predators tomorrow in a back-to-back — but even then they gain an hour by going into the central time zone.
Back-to-back games to be split
Expect Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson to split these back-to-back games. Maurice said as much over the weekend, without revealing who would get which game.
Common sense might suggest the Jets would save Hellebuyck for division rival Nashville, thus clearing the way for Hutchinson to go tonight against Washington.
After all, the Jets still have hopes of catching the Predators for first place in the Central Division.
Maurice will provide an update following the morning skate.
Bell MTS third-best ice surface
Take a bow, Winnipeg fans.
When it comes to making good ice and plenty of noise, you’ve got the attention of the rest of the NHL.
Results were just released of a major survey in which more than 500 current players voted on a variety of subjects over the last few months.
The 2017-18 Player Poll, co-ordinated by the NHLPA, involved more than 20-hockey related questions. Winnipeg makes a pair of appearances.
Bell MTS Place finished third in voting for best NHL ice surface, behind Montreal’s Bell Centre and Rogers Place in Edmonton.
As well, Winnipeg fans were voted fifth-best in the league, behind Chicago, Nashville, Montreal and Toronto.
Other interesting categories include who’s the best referee (Wes McCauley in a landslide), which current player would make the best coach (Sidney Crosby in a close vote) and which current assistant coach would make the best bench boss (Toronto’s D.J. Smith).There were also votes taken on best skaters and goalies of all time.
Among the more intriguing results, 77.7 per cent of voters said they’re happy with the current NHL points system which sees some games worth two points, and others that get to overtime or a shootout worth three.
The full survey and results can be viewed online.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.
Updated on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 10:54 PM CDT: Edited