April 21, 2019

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Jets' elder statesman Hendricks gets fourth-line assignment fit for the Kings

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Winnipeg Jets Matt Hendricks</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Jets Matt Hendricks

LOS ANGELES — Matt Hendricks wasn't sure when — or even if — the assignment would come.

But the veteran winger got the word from Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice that he'll make his Jets debut — again — tonight in L.A.

Hendricks, 37, will skate on the fourth line with Andrew Copp and Mathieu Perreault as the Jets (42-25-4) face the Kings (25-38-8) at Staples Center.

He played for Winnipeg last season, signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Wild in the summer and was acquired by the Jets three weeks ago at the NHL trade deadline.

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LOS ANGELES — Matt Hendricks wasn't sure when — or even if — the assignment would come.

But the veteran winger got the word from Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice that he'll make his Jets debut — again — tonight in L.A.

Hendricks, 37, will skate on the fourth line with Andrew Copp and Mathieu Perreault as the Jets (42-25-4) face the Kings (25-38-8) at Staples Center.

He played for Winnipeg last season, signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Wild in the summer and was acquired by the Jets three weeks ago at the NHL trade deadline.

"Excited... good skate this morning and looking forward to joining — really rejoining — these guys and being out there in the trenches with them," Hendricks said earlier today. "Just try to play my game, bring some energy to the bench and in the room here and do whatever I can to get a win.

"There’s a lot of joy in this room, a lot of energy. It’s a real good group in terms of friendships, kind of that family feeling in here, that close, tight-knit group. I’m happy to be here and I want to do my best tonight to give a little bit to the team in a game."

He replaces winger Jack Roslovic, who will be healthy scratch.

Hendricks had seen limited action with the Wild and had just a pair of assists in 22 games as a result of frequent healthy scratches and some injuries.

Picked up for a seventh-round pick in 2020 for his leadership and popularity in the dressing room, Hendricks admitted he wasn't sure if he'd suit up again this year.

"Yeah, you never know. Things are going pretty well for our team right now. I didn’t put any expectations on it. I wanted to show up, work hard, be myself, be the guy that everyone expects me to be in here," said Hendricks, who had five goals and 13 points during the 2017-18 season in Winnipeg. "If you get to play, you get to play. If you don’t you’re still helping the team in other ways, in other categories."

Jets goalie Laurent Brossoit gets the start tonight, his first assignment since backstopping his squad to an 8-1 victory in Carolina against the Hurricanes on March 8.

Winnipeg is gunning for its third consecutive victory. The team leads the Central Division by a single point over the Nashville Predators.

Maurice said the timing was right to give Hendricks, in his 10th NHL campaign, some game action.

"He’s healthy, for one. It took him a couple weeks after we got him to get him back to right. This will be a heavy game along the walls. We didn’t love our game in here last time, so he fits that style of game," said Maurice.

The Kings, last in the Pacific Division, dumped the visiting Jets 4-1 on Dec. 18.

"Roslovic is healthy and I like his game. He didn’t come out on fault. I like where he’s trending. But I do want to make sure we have some games on everybody here and give ourselves a chance to win every night. So, trying to pick the right spots for it to happen."

Roslovic has played 70 of the club's previous 71 games, sitting out in Helsinki on Nov. 2 when the Jets played the Florida Panthers twice in as many nights.

Brossoit will make his 20th appearance and is 12-5-2 with an impressive 2.45 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

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).

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