Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/9/2017 (1751 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Jets will dress a veteran-laden squad when they host the Minnesota Wild in their first of seven NHL pre-season tests Monday at 7 p.m. at Bell MTS Place.
Head coach Paul Maurice will have goalies Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie at his disposal, although he wouldn't divulge Sunday afternoon which one would start.
On the blue line, veterans Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom and Ben Chiarot will be joined by Tucker Poolman, Nelson Nogier and Logan Stanley.
Up front, Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele will dress, as will Mathieu Perreault, Bryan Little, Nikolaj Ehlers, Joel Armia, Marko Dano and Adam Lowry. Rounding out the forward crew are Kyle Connor, Brendan Lemieux and Michael Sgarbossa.
It's still early in training camp and debate on the NHL-readiness of Poolman, a former college star, will rage for another few weeks.
Maurice said this weekend the 24-year-old blue-liner from East Grand Forks, Minn., has looked impressive during drills the first few days of training camp with Group 1, which comprises the bulk of the Jets' 2016-17 roster.
"From an injury point of view, he had all good strength in the corners. There wasn’t anything to say he was sheltering. And just from a hockey point of view, I thought he looked really good in those drills," said Maurice.
Poolman, 6-3, 217 pounds, a right-shooting defenceman who played three seasons at the University of North Dakota was on the receiving end of a brutal hit in the U.S. college hockey playoffs and required surgery on both shoulders in the spring.
After months on the mend, he skated a couple of times in Winnipeg earlier this month, accompanied the Jets' squad to the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C., and played in the team's final contest — a 4-1 triumph over Calgary — and is now at main camp, paired primarily with veteran Toby Enstrom.
"The things it takes a while for a young defenceman to learn is how to go back and get the puck, when to protect it, when to move it, how to evade a guy in the corner," said Maurice. "He had no problem figuring it out."
Poolman is in a battle with Chiarot for the seventh defensive position but is most likely destined to begin the year with the Manitoba Moose, the team's AHL affiliate.
He said the last few weeks have been a whirlwind but he's starting to settle into his new surroundings. Most importantly, the shoulders aren't a concern.
"(Drills include) a lot of one-on-ones and rushes and boxing out, so it was another good test for them and strengthening them, and they feel fine," he said. "I can tell they're fixed and they're sturdy."
Poolman said the speed of the Calgary Flames' prospects in Penticton was one thing, but crippling the forward progress of bona fide NHLers is a much taller task.
"It's a good pace. Obviously, we have great players so it was good to get out and compete with them," he said. "It's interesting. You hop out there and you're taking two-on-two rushes and you got guys building speed, so you gotta get your feet moving quick."
The rival Wild are expected to counter Monday with a roster that includes goalies Steve Michalek and Niklas Svedberg, defencemen Mike Reilly, Ryan Murphy, Gustav Olofsson, Kyle Quincey, Alex Grant, Carson Soucy and Brennan Menell, and forwards Charlie Coyle, Chris Stewart, Marcus Foligno, Cal O'Reilly, Luke Kunin, Ryan Malone, Daniel Winnik, Kyle Rau, Landon Ferraro, Sam Anas, Zack Mitchell, Justin Kloos and Tyler Ennis.
Winnipeg has a busy week, hosting the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday at 7 p.m., battling the Wild at Xcel Energy Center at 7 p.m. Thursday and then venturing to Edmonton for a rematch Saturday night at 8 p.m.
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).