April 24, 2018

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Wild coach says travel delay a non-issue for visiting Jets

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES
Winnipeg Jets' Ben Chiarot (7), Jack Roslovic (52), Andrew Copp (9) and Tyler Myers (57) celebrate Copp's goal against the Minnesota Wild during third period game two NHL playoff action in Winnipeg on Friday. The Jets, who lead the series 2-0, and hoping for a third win tonight against the Wild in Saint Paul.

CP

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Winnipeg Jets' Ben Chiarot (7), Jack Roslovic (52), Andrew Copp (9) and Tyler Myers (57) celebrate Copp's goal against the Minnesota Wild during third period game two NHL playoff action in Winnipeg on Friday. The Jets, who lead the series 2-0, and hoping for a third win tonight against the Wild in Saint Paul.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Winnipeg Jets had a goofy travel day Saturday but landed in Minneapolis about 10:15 a.m. today, well in advance of tonight's pivotal NHL playoff game.

The Jets lead the Minnesota Wild 2-0 in their best-of-seven opening-round playoff series. Game 3 is set for Xcel Energy Center — the home of the Wild — tonight at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, a record-setting spring snowstorm in Minnesota meant the Jets were unable to land in Minneapolis, forcing the team's charter flight to be diverted to Duluth, 250 kilometres northeast.

After sitting on the tarmac for a couple of hours to see if an opportunity to get into the Twin Cities might open up, a decision was made to head back to Winnipeg by late afternoon.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Winnipeg Jets had a goofy travel day Saturday but landed in Minneapolis about 10:15 a.m. today, well in advance of tonight's pivotal NHL playoff game.

The Jets lead the Minnesota Wild 2-0 in their best-of-seven opening-round playoff series. Game 3 is set for Xcel Energy Center — the home of the Wild — tonight at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, a record-setting spring snowstorm in Minnesota meant the Jets were unable to land in Minneapolis, forcing the team's charter flight to be diverted to Duluth, 250 kilometres northeast.

After sitting on the tarmac for a couple of hours to see if an opportunity to get into the Twin Cities might open up, a decision was made to head back to Winnipeg by late afternoon.

The team left Winnipeg this morning at 9 a.m., arriving about 75 minutes later. The regularly scheduled morning skate was scrapped, although head coach Paul Maurice and a few players will speak with reporters later today.

A fierce April blizzard that the National Weather Service called "historic" dumped 30 to 40 centimetres of snow on the Twin Cities.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
On Saturday, residents of Minneapolis and Saint Paul had to cope with a spring snowstorm that stranded flights and motorists. The Jets couldn't land in the city and had to return to Winnipeg. They flew out Sunday morning and landed safely.

CP

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS On Saturday, residents of Minneapolis and Saint Paul had to cope with a spring snowstorm that stranded flights and motorists. The Jets couldn't land in the city and had to return to Winnipeg. They flew out Sunday morning and landed safely.

Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau had a comical take Sunday morning on the rolling slap shot unleashed by Mother Nature.

"This is real playoff weather... if you’re playing in Antarctica," he told reporters.

The 63-year-old Toronto product, who had a 16-year pro career, including 134 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, called Winnipeg's travel problems a "non-issue."

"It's overblown. It’s playoff hockey and they’re going to be ready," he said, after an optional skate for the Wild, many of whom have opted to stay in hotels near Xcel Energy Center because of poor driving conditions.

"We had a time in Washington, one time we had a noon game, Pittsburgh couldn’t get in, they bussed in 10 hours before the game and outplayed us."

Boudreau coached the Capitals and Anaheim Ducks before taking over the Wild bench before the start of the 2016-17 season.

"It’s all about the will and Winnipeg has will right now, so this travel thing is a non-issue as far as I’m concerned," he said.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Read more by Jason Bell.

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History

Updated on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 1:38 PM CDT: headline changed

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